Michael Sheen reads from Philip Pullman’s ‘La Belle Sauvage’ – video

The Book of Dust is a forthcoming trilogy of fantasy novels by Philip Pullman, a companion series to His Dark Materials. The first book, La Belle Sauvage, is set 10 years before Northern Lights and centres on Lyra Belacqua, one of the original protagonists. Alethiometers, dæmons and the Magisterium also return, alongside new characters, including a new hero. La Belle Sauvage will be published in October 2017

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Maggie O’Farrell: ‘I’ve revealed the secrets I’ve spent my life hiding’

An armed ambush, a traumatic labour, near drownings... The novelist tells Decca Aitkenhead about her brushes with death

• Scroll down for an exclusive extract from her new memoir

In an average year, Maggie O’Farrell comes close to death several times. Seized with terror, she dials 999 and is rushed to hospital in a white-knuckle dash that navigates the border of life and death. Breathing becomes impossible, the skin bubbles and blisters; as consciousness fades, cardiac arrest can be just minutes away. The death O’Farrell must come this close to, over and again, is not her own but her daughter’s.

O’Farrell’s middle child is eight years old. Ever since the age of two, she has suffered extreme allergic reactions between 12 and 15 times a year, which can be triggered by – and this list is far from exhaustive – sitting beside someone who ate muesli for breakfast, or at ...

Reviews roundup: The Unwomanly Face of War; RisingTideFallingStar; H(a)ppy

What the critics though of Svetlana Alexievich’s The Unwomanly Face of War; Phii Hoare’s RisingTideFallingStar; and H(a)ppy by Nicola Barker Nobel prizewinners are often given a hard time by critics when subsequent books (often reissued backlist titles) are published, but that was anything but the case with responses to The Unwomanly Face of War by the Belarusian 2015 laureate Svetlana Alexievich. Originally published in censored form in 1985 and based on interviews with female Soviet veterans of the second world war, her debut is “an astonishing work”, wrote the Literary Review’s Daniel Beer, praising “a haunting symphony ... a profoundly humbling, devastating book”. Equally impressed was the Observer’s Viv Groskop (“her achievement is as breathtaking as the experiences of these women are awe-inspiring”), while the Evening Standard’s Andrew Dickson called it “history at its rawest and most uncomfortably intimate”. In the FT, Lyuba Vinogradov acclaimed Alexievich for having the ...

Reviews roundup: The Angry Chef; Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8; The Party

What the critics thought of Anthony Warner’s The Angry Chef, Naoki Higashida’s Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8 and The Party by Elizabeth Day The Angry Chef by Anthony Warner has resulted in cheerful critics. “This is an impassioned debunking of the pseudoscience and feelings of guilt and shame that drive the diet industry in its current form,” explained Lisa Markwell in the Evening Standard. “As a restaurant critic, qualified chef and greedy person, I found the book fascinating ... a thoughtful, forensically researched and referenced work on healthy eating and, more importantly, it’s entertaining.” Olivia Potts, in the Spectator, felt it “easy to see why he’s so angry [as he describes what fad diets do to vulnerable people]. Warner’s analyses are clever and original, digging deep, and avoiding easy conclusions … There are structural stumbles [but] this is an important book, and a good one.” “Warner’s ...

Reviews roundup: The Angry Chef; Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8; The Party

What the critics thought of Anthony Warner’s The Angry Chef, Naoki Higashida’s Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8 and The Party by Elizabeth Day The Angry Chef by Anthony Warner has resulted in cheerful critics. “This is an impassioned debunking of the pseudoscience and feelings of guilt and shame that drive the diet industry in its current form,” explained Lisa Markwell in the Evening Standard. “As a restaurant critic, qualified chef and greedy person, I found the book fascinating ... a thoughtful, forensically researched and referenced work on healthy eating and, more importantly, it’s entertaining.” Olivia Potts, in the Spectator, felt it “easy to see why he’s so angry [as he describes what fad diets do to vulnerable people]. Warner’s analyses are clever and original, digging deep, and avoiding easy conclusions … There are structural stumbles [but] this is an important book, and a good one.” “Warner’s ...

Reviews roundup: The Angry Chef; Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8; The Party

What the critics thought of Anthony Warner’s The Angry Chef, Naoki Higashida’s Fall Down 7 Times Get Up 8 and The Party by Elizabeth Day The Angry Chef by Anthony Warner has resulted in cheerful critics. “This is an impassioned debunking of the pseudoscience and feelings of guilt and shame that drive the diet industry in its current form,” explained Lisa Markwell in the Evening Standard. “As a restaurant critic, qualified chef and greedy person, I found the book fascinating ... a thoughtful, forensically researched and referenced work on healthy eating and, more importantly, it’s entertaining.” Olivia Potts, in the Spectator, felt it “easy to see why he’s so angry [as he describes what fad diets do to vulnerable people]. Warner’s analyses are clever and original, digging deep, and avoiding easy conclusions … There are structural stumbles [but] this is an important book, and a good one.” “Warner’s ...

That’s the Way It Crumbles; How to Stop Time; Madame Zero

What the critics thought of Matthew Engel’s That’s the Way It Crumbles, Matt Haig’s How to Stop Time and Madame Zero by Sarah Hall Critics dove and dived in to review former Guardian journalist Matthew Engel’s story of “The American Conquest of the English Language”, That’s the Way It Crumbles. John Sutherland in the New Statesman was aghast to learn that “wake-up calls” have been appearing at an alarming rate even in the Guardian, and found that “One of the charms of this book is Engel hunting down his prey like a linguistic witchfinder-general … [it] makes us listen to what is coming out of our mouths and think seriously about it.” “If you’re the kind of person who shouts at the radio, this book is for you. Except, of course, that in this country we don’t shout at the radio. We shout at the wireless,” chided Rose Wild ...