Oldest complete Latin ​​Bible set to return to UK after 1,302 years

British Library secures loan of giant Codex Amiatinus Bible from Laurentian library in Florence for exhibition on Anglo-Saxon England

One of the greatest of all Anglo-Saxon treasures, the oldest complete Latin Bible in existence, is returning to the UK for the first time in 1,302 years.

The Codex Amiatinus is a beautiful and giant Bible produced in Northumbria by pioneering monks in 716 which, on its completion, was taken to Italy as a gift for Pope Gregory II.

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Soho loses notoriety as London’s criminal gangs look east

Clip joints and phone thefts are still common in the capital, says author of a book on city crime around the world Soho was once known for being the underbelly of London’s gangland, but criminals – much like the wave of gentrification – have moved east to trendier spots like Dalston and Shoreditch, according to the author of a book on global criminality. Conor Woodman spent four years exploring the criminal underbellies of cities around the world, from the pickpocketing gangs of Barcelona to elaborate scammers in Mumbai who con tourists at the airport. Continue reading...

Students take Hilary Mantel’s Tudor novels as fact, says historian

John Guy tells Hay festival that applicants cite author in interviews and says blur between fact and fiction is troubling One of Britain’s most respected Tudor historians has expressed concern that prospective students imagine Hilary Mantel’s novels are fact. John Guy told the Hay literary festival in Wales that Mantel’s Thomas Cromwell novels needed to be enjoyed for what they were: fiction. Continue reading...

Trees talk to each other, have sex and look after their young, says author

Peter Wohlleben’s book has become bestseller in Germany but he tells Hay festival audience it has annoyed scientists Trees are social creatures that mother their young, talk to each other, experience pain, remember things and have sex with each other, a bestselling author has said. If that persuades you to go and hug the nearest tree, then great, said Peter Wohlleben. Just avoid a birch: “It is not very sociable. Try a beech.” Continue reading...

Paddy Ashdown ‘horrified’ by parallels between UK and 1930s Germany

Former Lib Dem leader tells Hay festival he fears for his country and criticises Theresa May for refusing to take part in live debate Paddy Ashdown has said he sees horrifying parallels between 1930s Germany and what is happening in the post-referendum UK.
The former Liberal Democrats leader told the Hay festival in Wales on Tuesday that he feared for his country, with a huge number of people left “voiceless” as Labour moved further left and the Conservatives further right. Continue reading...

John le Carré to make rare public appearance to discuss new novel

Author will take part in An Evening with George Smiley at Royal Festival Hall to mark return of his most famous character He first appeared in 1961 as a short, fat, quiet man whose bad clothes “hung about his squat frame like skin on a shrunken toad”. But that unassuming bespectacled man, with his deep love of the lesser German poets, was far from ordinary; he was George Smiley, one of the greatest, cleverest spies in fiction. Continue reading...