The forensic pathologist who got PTSD: ‘Cutting up 23,000 dead bodies is not normal’

Richard Shepherd’s career saw him work on some of the most high-profile cases of the past 30 years, such as Harold Shipman and Stephen Lawrence. But it came at a terrible personal cost, he says

When Richard Shepherd was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder in 2016, the mental health nurse told him he was really worried. “Most people say they’re going to commit suicide,” the nurse said, “but you actually know what to do.”

Shepherd’s career as one of the UK’s most distinguished forensic pathologists saw him involved in disasters from the Hungerford shootings to the Bali bombings, and in high-profile cases from Harold Shipman to Stephen Lawrence. His daily life was made up of blood-spattered corpses and formalin-soaked dissections, anguished relatives and scornful barristers. But it wasn’t a particular incident that left him immobilised by dread, struggling with sleep and plagued by panic attacks. Instead, it was the ...

VS Naipaul, Nobel prize-winning British author, dies aged 85

Trinidad-born author won both acclaim and disdain for his caustic portrayals, in novels and non-fiction, of the legacy of colonialism

The writer VS Naipaul, who explored questions of place and identity for more than half a century, has died aged 85.

Lady Naipaul confirmed that her husband had died peacefully in London. “He was a giant in all that he achieved and he died surrounded by those he loved having lived a life which was full of wonderful creativity and endeavour,” she said.

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Why there’s a buzz about Helen Jukes’ beekeeping memoir

Ground down by office work, the author took up beekeeping to find a new purpose … and love. She explains why honeybees are good counsellors

‘I was facing the bees, but I also ended up facing myself in that relationship, and once you begin facing stuff maybe things begin opening up.” The writer Helen Jukes trails off, shrugs apologetically. “I’m being really inarticulate about this and I’m not sure why.” She’s happy enough to talk about the bees she kept in her back garden, to explore the changing symbolism of the hive throughout the ages. But when the conversation shifts to the relationship whose first steps she charts in her memoir, she’s not sure what to say. “I’m a bit wary about it being billed as a love story. It’s true, all of this stuff did happen, but I haven’t quite found the right words to describe it....

Man Booker prize 2018: what are your predictions for the longlist?

The grandest contest in British literature is about to begin. Whose numbers will come up this year?

Sports fans still lamenting the end of Vladimir Putin’s football fiesta can perhaps console themselves with the opening round of the literary world’s favourite game: posh bingo. The Booker prize will unveil the runners and riders on this year’s longlist as Monday night turns into Tuesday morning.

So who will it be? Jostling this year to fill the slots generally reserved for former winners are Michael Ondaatje – fresh from his Golden Booker triumphPat Barker, Peter Carey, Alan Hollinghurst and Julian Barnes. Lining up to feature as American invaders are Anne Tyler, Richard Powers, Rachel Kushner and Madeline Miller, who face off against established home-team names such as Aminatta Forna, Jim Crace, Andrew Miller and Rachel Cusk. And could this be the year that ...

Stav Sherez wins crime novel of the year for ‘moving the genre forward’

The Intrusions, in which the case of an abduction reveals online terrors, takes the 2018 Theakston Old Peculier prize

Stav Sherez has won the 2018 Theakston Old Peculier award for crime fiction with his novel The Intrusions.

The third outing for detectives Jack Carrigan and Geneva Miller begins when a young woman arrives at their west London police station, saying that her friend has been abducted from the seedy Bayswater hostel where they both live. Soon the investigators discover that someone has been using remote-access technology to gain control both of the women’s laptops and their lives.

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Stig of the Dump author Clive King dies aged 94

Alongside some 20 other books, his 1963 story of a stone-age hunter living in modern-day Kent sold more than 2m copies and has never been out of print

The writer Clive King, creator of the much-loved children’s classic Stig of the Dump, has died aged 94.

A career that began in 1958 – with Hamid of Aleppo, a book for younger children about a hamster – stretched over five decades, with King writing for the children’s theatre as well as publishing more than 20 books. But it was the stone-age hunter living in a chalk pit on the Downs who captured the imagination of generations, with Stig appearing in television adaptations in both 1981 and 2002.

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Joy and despair in Alaska: Adam Weymouth on his 2,000 mile odyssey

Weymouth spent months paddling through the wilderness in a canoe, tracking the mighty king salmon. What he found was an ecosystem – and a culture – under threat

The sun is shining on the rear deck of Adam Weymouth’s barge, and the hawthorn along the banks of the river Lea is bright with new growth. But despite the natural beauty all around him in this pocket of London, he’s finding it hard to believe we can avert climate catastrophe: “It’s just really hard to give a fuck.”

“Living where we do, even with the best will in the world and being as informed as you could be, nature is incredibly abstract,” Weymouth says. “When the shit hits the fan, we’re going to turn up the air conditioning. The bread might get a bit more expensive, but we’ll be all right for quite a while.”

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Joy and despair in Alaska: Adam Weymouth on his 2,000 mile odyssey

Weymouth spent months paddling through the wilderness in a canoe, tracking the mighty king salmon. What he found was an ecosystem – and a culture – under threat

The sun is shining on the rear deck of Adam Weymouth’s barge, and the hawthorn along the banks of the river Lea is bright with new growth. But despite the natural beauty all around him in this pocket of London, he’s finding it hard to believe we can avert climate catastrophe: “It’s just really hard to give a fuck.”

“Living where we do, even with the best will in the world and being as informed as you could be, nature is incredibly abstract,” Weymouth says. “When the shit hits the fan, we’re going to turn up the air conditioning. The bread might get a bit more expensive, but we’ll be all right for quite a while.”

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Philip Roth: Portnoy’s Complaint and American Pastoral author dies at 85

Chronicler of American politics, Jewishness and male sexual desire was widely regarded as one of greatest novelists of the 20th century

The novelist Philip Roth, who explored America through the contradictions of his own character for more than six decades, died on Tuesday aged 85.

Roth’s career began in notoriety and ended in authority, as he grappled with questions of identity, authorship, morality and mortality in a series of novels that shaped the course of American letters in the second half of the 20th century. He refracted the complexities of his Jewish-American heritage in works such as Portnoy’s Complaint, American Pastoral, The Human Stain and The Plot Against America, which garnered both critical and commercial success, garlanding their creator with a dazzling succession of literary prizes.

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Terror hits home: Gabriela Ybarra on the family stories behind her novel

After her grandfather was assassinated by Basque separatists in 1977, Ybarra’s family never talked about it. Using fiction to fill in the gaps, debut novel The Dinner Guest is up for the Man Booker International prize

When the Spanish writer Gabriela Ybarra heard she had been nominated for the Man Booker International prize, she could hardly believe it. “I had just fed the baby and was going to take a nap,” she says, her four-month-old son gurgling and squawking on her knee, as she speaks at her home in Madrid. “I was super-relaxed. Then I read the email from my UK editor and I couldn’t sleep, because I was so excited.”

The novel that has put this debut author alongside literary stars such as Laurent Binet, Han Kang and László Krasznahorkai is The Dinner Guest, a bold examination of silence and mortality that explores her grandfather’s murder at ...

No Kyding: eminent Shakespeare scholar seeks publisher

Sir Brian Vickers claims his reputation has been damaged by associates of the New Oxford Shakespeare: they, in turn, dispute his methods

When readers of the Times Literary Supplement open the latest issue, they’re due something of a surprise. There, alongside the advertisements for bursaries and farmhouses to rent, is a small notice from an eminent Shakespeare scholar. After a career spanning more than 50 years, during which he has published more than 40 books, Professor Sir Brian Vickers finds himself in search of a publisher.

According to Vickers, a major reason he has not yet found a home for his complete edition of works by Thomas Kyd is that his “reputation as a scholar has been damaged by a string of hostile reviews by people associated with the New Oxford Shakespeare”.

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No Kyding: eminent Shakespeare scholar seeks publisher

Sir Brian Vickers claims his reputation has been damaged by associates of the New Oxford Shakespeare: they, in turn, dispute his methods

When readers of the Times Literary Supplement open the latest issue, they’re due something of a surprise. There, alongside the advertisements for bursaries and farmhouses to rent, is a small notice from an eminent Shakespeare scholar. After a career spanning more than 50 years, during which he has published more than 40 books, Professor Sir Brian Vickers finds himself in search of a publisher.

According to Vickers, a major reason he has not yet found a home for his complete edition of works by Thomas Kyd is that his “reputation as a scholar has been damaged by a string of hostile reviews by people associated with the New Oxford Shakespeare”.

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Jay Bernard’s ‘personal and brave’ poetry wins Ted Hughes award

Surge: Side A, an intimate multimedia exploration of 1981 New Cross fire, wins £5,000 prize

Jay Bernard has won the Ted Hughes award for new poetry with the performance Surge: Side A, a multimedia sequence which explores the 1981 New Cross fire.

The £5,000 prize is given to the poet “who has made the most exciting contribution to poetry”, putting published collections alongside live performance, installations and radio pieces.

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La Belle Sauvage chosen as Waterstones book of the year

Managing director James Daunt says staff showed overwhelming enthusiasm for Philip Pullman’s return after 17 years to the world of Northern Lights

Philip Pullman’s return to the world of Lyra Belacqua, La Belle Sauvage, has picked up its first award: the Waterstones book of the year.

The novel, which is already a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic, begins 10 years before Northern Lights and tells the story of an apocalyptic flood and how a young boy, Malcolm, teams up with an older girl, Alice, to save the infant Lyra from a sinister plot.

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La Belle Sauvage chosen as Waterstones book of the year

Managing director James Daunt says staff showed overwhelming enthusiasm for Philip Pullman’s return after 17 years to the world of Northern Lights

Philip Pullman’s return to the world of Lyra Belacqua, La Belle Sauvage, has picked up its first award: the Waterstones book of the year.

The novel, which is already a bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic, begins 10 years before Northern Lights and tells the story of an apocalyptic flood and how a young boy, Malcolm, teams up with an older girl, Alice, to save the infant Lyra from a sinister plot.

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Elizabeth-Jane Burnett: ‘Swimming can give you the optimism to keep going’

Swims is a work of poetry that follows its author into open waters around the UK, where she finds both simple pleasure and more complicated political hope

“What can I do as a person on the planet, as a human being, as a writer, as the unique set of things that I am?” asks Elizabeth-Jane Burnett. “How can I help the environment?” For a writer and scholar who has been exploring the natural world and alternatives to capitalism in pamphlets, exhibitions and academic papers, the response to environmental catastrophe was clear: poetry.

Swims, her first book, is one long poem that follows the author as she dives into open water across England and Wales, plunging into rivers, lakes and seas in a watery circuit that takes in the Ouse, the Teign, the Channel, Grasmere and King’s Cross Pond in London. Some sections record a process or ritual – ...

Amazon’s Kindle turns 10: have ebooks clicked with you yet?

A decade after Jeff Bezos launched a revolution in reading – and a $1bn money-spinner – much has changed in the book trade. But how has it affected readers?

George W Bush was in the White House, Chris Brown was topping the Billboard chart and Jeff Bezos … well, on 19 November 2007, Jeff Bezos was doing “the most important thing we’ve ever done” and launching the Amazon Kindle.

The first Kindles were chunky things about the same size as a paperback, weighing a smidgeon less than 300g. They had wonky little keyboards and a little wheel for scrolling up and down a grey and black screen. But Bezos was never aiming for a flashy design. Speaking at the launch in New York, he said that all he wanted was a device that could “disappear”.

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Nick Harkaway: ‘I have a firework going off in my head and I have to describe it’

The novelist on technology, surveillance and having John le Carré for a father

If everybody was incredibly committed to acts of kindness and charity in a ubiquitous circle of love and whatever,” Nick Harkaway waves his hands as the words come tumbling out, “we’d be living in a utopia now. People would walk out into the street and make sure their neighbours are OK, the way they do after earthquakes.” He stops, looks around the light study at the top of his house in Belsize Park, north London, and tries to work out how he’s got from the all-seeing surveillance at the heart of his latest novel to historical materialism. “I’ve strayed again … what was the question?”

The breakneck whirl of Harkaway’s conversation is a bit like his fiction, ideas fizzing off in every direction as it hurtles along. His fourth novel, Gnomon, is no ...

Survey finds more than half of people in book trade have experienced sexual harassment

Poll by the Bookseller finds 54% of female respondents reporting sexual ‘harassment, assault or predatory behaviour’

A survey suggests that more than half of people working in the books industry have experienced sexual harassment, with 54% of women and 34% of men reporting “harassment, assault or predatory behaviour”.

The anonymous online poll was conducted by the industry magazine the Bookseller, gathering together responses from 388 people including booksellers, agents, authors and event organisers.

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Chris D Thomas Inheritors of the Earth first book interview

African rhinos in the Mediterreanean, French butterflies in southern England... the biologist on how dynamic ecology offers hope in a changing world After a lifetime out in the field, measuring the egg-laying preferences of Californian butterflies or counting plant species living in and around Birmingham, ecologist Chris D Thomas is no typical debut author. But like so many writers, his first book, Inheritors of the Earth, has been germinating for some time. The seeds were sown in the early 2000s: Thomas was researching ways of saving animals and plants threatened by climate change, when he began to focus on the inconsistencies in attitudes to the ebb and flow of nature. “When things died out or declined it was seen as a loss,” he says, “but when new things arrived it was either ignored or also counted effectively as a loss, because it was seen as a departure from how things ...