Richard Curtis: ‘I regret not writing about love’s trickier side’

Writer tells Cheltenham festival he wishes he had tackled problems that come with staying together

Richard Curtis, the writer and director behind some of Britain’s best-loved romantic comedies, has said he wished he had spent more time writing about the later years of love.

Curtis, whose films include Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Love, Actually, was reflecting on some of the things he had not done in a busy career that also included co-founding Comic Relief.

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Brexit is black cloud for UK arts, says former National Theatre boss

Sir Nicholas Hytner says council cuts and sidelining of subjects at school add to crisis

Sir Nicholas Hytner has delivered alarming warnings about the health of British arts and culture amid Brexit, council spending cuts and the downgrading of subjects at school.

Hytner, who was the director of the National Theatre for 12 years, expressed publicly views that are shared privately by many people in the arts. The difference, Hytner told the Cheltenham literature festival, was that he no longer worked in the public sector.

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Antony Sher: was Shakespeare a misogynist?

Actor says King Lear’s disgust at womankind may show playwright had a ‘problem with women’

King Lear’s revulsion at the female form and rage against womankind may be indicative of Shakespeare’s misogyny, the actor Sir Antony Sher has suggested.

Sher’s performance as Lear for the Royal Shakespeare Company between 2016-18, directed by his husband, Gregory Doran, was praised as “unbearably moving” by the Guardian’s Michael Billington.

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Spy agencies are worst at learning from past, say experts

No profession is as ignorant of its history as the intelligence profession, book festival hears

Intelligence agencies more than any other professional body have “official amnesia” and repeatedly fail to learn the lessons of the past, a panel of espionage experts has said.

Christopher Andrew, the writer of an authorised history of MI5, said intelligence chiefs ignored or did not know about historical mistakes, and the reason was obvious: the operations were always secret.

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V&A director defends rising exhibition prices

Tristram Hunt says museum is working on price models, and warns over arts in schools

Tristram Hunt, the director of the V&A, has defended the rising cost of exhibition tickets but said the museum will offer more flexible pricing including cheaper entry for advance bookings.

Many people bristle at the cost of tickets to exhibitions at the UK’s national museums and galleries. The top-price ticket at the V&A’s Pink Floyd show last year was £24, and the National Gallery was in the headlines in April when it charged £22 for a weekend ticket for its Monet show.

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Gary Barlow opens up about his weight issues and daughter’s death

Singer reveals how he became ‘unrecognisable’ after putting on weight when Take That split

Gary Barlow did not leave his house for about six months in the years after Take That broke up and his weight rose to 109kg (17st 2lbs).

The singer spoke emotionally at the Cheltenham literature festival of how good it was that the tide was turning and men could now openly discuss their problems. He also spoke movingly about the death of his daughter, in 2012, in the hope it would help others.

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Gary Barlow opens up about his weight issues and daughter’s death

Singer reveals how he became ‘unrecognisable’ after putting on weight when Take That split

Gary Barlow did not leave his house for about six months in the years after Take That broke up and his weight rose to 109kg (17st 2lbs).

The singer spoke emotionally at the Cheltenham literature festival of how good it was that the tide was turning and men could now openly discuss their problems. He also spoke movingly about the death of his daughter, in 2012, in the hope it would help others.

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Mr Darcy’s reputation as romantic hero trashed at Cheltenham literature festival

Writer Dolly Alderton says the ‘conceited’ Jane Austen character invented negging

Mr Darcy is not the dashing, romantic hero some people might fondly imagine. He is a probably ugly, conceited, rude, humourless snob who has had a dangerous effect on dating culture which lingers to the present day.

The reputation of Jane Austen’s hero from Pride and Prejudice was thoroughly and comprehensively trashed at the Cheltenham literature festival on Sunday.

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‘So what’ fiction isn’t creating passionate readers, says Pat Barker

Bestselling novelist criticised lack of new novels that speak strongly to particular audiences

Contemporary fiction is going through a “so what” moment, with very few novels generating a real sense of passion in readers, the Booker prize-winning novelist Pat Barker has said.

She said fiction, or the reading of fiction, was not in good health. It is less #MeToo, she told the Cheltenham literature festival on Sunday. “It is the so what moment.

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Sebastian Faulks reveals he is working on ‘Pinteresque’ play

Novelist says he is hoping he can succeed where others have failed in switch to stage

The novelist Sebastian Faulks is turning his attention to the stage with a play that will have no interval and will feature a good deal of repetition and nudity.

Faulks said he was well aware he could fall flat on his face but he enjoyed theatre and had seen enough of it to know what he thought worked.

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