Salman Rushdie tells of Hollywood’s phoniness and Trump’s best box


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Hay festival crowd hears about TV and film industry ‘bullshit’ and hanging with the Donald

The world of literature has its own level of phoniness, Salman Rushdie has admitted, but it is nothing compared with the wild insincerity levels of film and television. “Believe nothing,” he said.

In an entertaining interview at the Hay literary festival in Wales Rushdie revealed the bruising experience he had with the US TV company Showtime, which approached him seven years ago to write a series.

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Teenagers’ brains not ready for GCSEs, says neuroscientist


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Sarah-Jayne Blakemore opposes timing of exams in a period of major cognitive change

Teenagers are being damaged by the British school system because of early start times and exams at 16 when their brains are going through enormous change, a leading neuroscientist has said.

Sarah-Jayne Blakemore said it was only in recent years that the full scale of the changes that take place in the adolescent brain has been discovered. “That work has completely revolutionised what we think about this period of life,” she said.

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The Handmaid’s Tale: Margaret Atwood tells fans to chill out


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Author of dystopian novel admits she has no control over the TV series – but that’s OK

Margaret Atwood has admitted having no control over the TV version of her harrowing novel The Handmaid’s Tale but, she says, she has no problem with that.

“I think I would have to be awfully stupid to resent it because things could have been so much worse,” she told an audience at the Hay literary festival in Wales. “They have done a tippety-top job ... the acting is great, they’ve stuck to the central set of premises.”

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Caruana Galizia family ‘at war with Malta’ after journalist’s murder


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Paul Caruana Galizia says his father and brothers have not had chance to mourn the death of their mother, Daphne

The family of the murdered Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia have had little chance to mourn her death because of continuing intimidation, threats and lies, according to her son.

Paul Caruana Galizia, told the Hay literary festival in Wales that it felt like the family was at war with the state seven months after his mother was killed by a car bomb near her home.

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Rupert Everett gears up for the next chapter: moving in with his mum


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Speaking at Hay festival about his latest film The Happy Prince, the star also explained how being openly gay got him typecast

He has lived the wild life in Hollywood and New York, partied with Madonna, hung out with Andy Warhol, and sniffed poppers with Hardy Amies but Rupert Everett’s next chapter promises to be more sedate: he’s moving in with his mum.

“It’s done, I’m there,” the actor told Hay literary festival in Wales. “It’s very peculiar, I’m not sure if it’s a wonderful thing, or a tragic thing yet.

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UK’s council planners overworked, underpaid and abused, experts say


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Kevin McCloud and Hay festival panel speak up for beleaguered town planners

Council planners are the most understaffed, underpaid, overworked, abused and depressed workers in Britain, which is a cause for concern because they are responsible for creating and determining the quality of environments we live in, according to a panel of experts at the Hay festival.

“The average chief planning officer earns the same salary as a Tesco bakery manager and has done for the past 15 years,” Kevin McCloud, the presenter of Channel 4’s Grand Designs, told an audience at the literary festival in Wales.

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Fourth most published book in English language to go online


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Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (1789) by Rev Gilbert White inspired generations of naturalists including Charles Darwin

A book that influenced Charles Darwin and is reputedly the fourth most published work in the English language is to be made available online in its entirety.

The 1789 book, The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne by the Reverend Gilbert White, has inspired generations of naturalists with the vivid descriptions of the flora and fauna - as well as the weather and crops - the author encountered in the countryside around his Hampshire home.

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Rebus: Rankin’s gritty Scottish detective to make stage debut


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Author has worked with playwright Rona Munro for complex cop’s stage bow

Rebus, the abrasive, hard-drinking and brilliant Edinburgh detective created by Ian Rankin, is to be the star of a new stage play.

The author has collaborated with the playwright Rona Munro for a new crime story to be solved by the dour detective, the protagonist of 24 books that have sold more than 30m copies across the world.

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Mary Beard to host TV version of Radio 4’s Front Row


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Cambridge classicist to anchor new Friday night series of live arts debates on BBC Two

Mary Beard is to be the new regular presenter of the TV version of Radio 4’s Front Row, with the BBC returning live arts debate to a Friday night slot.

The Cambridge classicist has been named as the anchor for a series of six programmes that will be broadcast after Newsnight at 11pm, promising “cultural debate, critical reviews and interviews”.

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TS Eliot returns to Margate with art exhibition


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The Waste Land inspires art exhibition in Margate, where TS Eliot wrote his poem

Nearly 100 art works by 60 artists that can, in varying ways, be linked to the greatest poem of the 20th century are to go on display in the seaside town which gave him inspiration as he wrote it.

Turner Contemporary in Margate will open an exhibition on Saturday inspired by TS Eliot’s The Waste Land.

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


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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


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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


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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


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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


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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...

Corbyn should be tougher on party trolls, says Harriet Harman


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Politician tells Hay festival it is not enough for Labour leader to say he does not condone abuse of female MPs by members Harriet Harman has called on Jeremy Corbyn to take a tougher stance on Labour members who abuse and troll the party’s MPs.
The Labour candidate was speaking at the Hay festival about her political career and the many battles against sexism she has had to fight. Continue reading...

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


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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...

Shortlisted book features women able to kill men with single touch


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Naomi Alderman whose sci-fi book The Power is shortlisted for Baileys women’s prize for fiction, hopes most readers won’t take it the wrong way A science fiction book imagining a world where women develop a power to hurt or kill men with a single touch has been shortlisted for a major literary prize. Naomi Alderman’s thriller The Power is one of six books shortlisted for the £30,000 Baileys women’s prize for fiction, an award which has been celebrating fiction written by women in English since 1996. Continue reading...

Libraries receive £4m fund as part of strategy to secure their future


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Cash for community projects comes as report calls for sector to be more innovative and raise awareness of services on offer A new national strategy to help England’s hard-pressed libraries is to include a £4m innovation fund for projects that help disadvantaged communities. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has published a five-year strategy for libraries, which it said would help them improve and thrive in the 21st century. Continue reading...

Julian Barnes: letting US authors compete for Booker prize is ‘daft’


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Former winner says opening award to American writers, including ‘heavy hitters’, would limit chances of others Man Booker winner Julian Barnes has criticised opening up the UK’s premier literary prize to American writers, calling it “straightforwardly daft”. The novelist, who won the award in 2011 for The Sense of an Ending, revealed he was firmly against the controversial changes introduced in 2014. Continue reading...