Oxford English Dictionary asks teenagers to explain modern slang

OED wants young people to share their ‘particularly elusive’ language, as it evolves through media such as Snapchat and WhatsApp

The venerable Oxford English Dictionary has launched an appeal to teenagers, hoping they can help it get to grips with slippery teenage slang such as “hench” and “dank”.

Citing its aim to “record all distinctive words that shape the language, old and new, formal and informal”, the OED said that slang terms were “always challenging” for dictionary editors to track. Young people’s language today is “particularly elusive”, because terms change rapidly and communication methods such as WhatsApp and Snapchat have made it more difficult to monitor the changing vocabulary.

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George Orwell archives added to Unesco Memory of the World register

UN’s cultural agency recognises the ‘world significance’ of the Animal Farm author’s papers

The personal archives of George Orwell, containing the author and journalist’s first phrasing of the sinister slogan from Nineteen Eighty-Four, “War is Peace. Ignorance is strength. Freedom is slavery”, have been added to Unesco’s register of the world’s most significant documents.

The Memory of the World register is the archival equivalent of Unesco’s world heritage sites, listing unique historical documents from the Diary of Anne Frank to Magna Carta, with the intention that they be “fully preserved and protected for all”. University College London, which houses the manuscript notebooks, diaries, letters and photographs that make up the Orwell papers, said it underwent a highly competitive selection process to win a place on the list, and that Unesco’s selectors had recognised the “world significance and outstanding universal value” of Orwell’s writings.

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Francis Fukuyama: ‘Trump instinctively picks racial themes to drive people on the left crazy’

In 1989, the economist’s essay The End of History? asked whether liberalism had triumphed over ideology. History, however, had other ideas and his new book responds to the return of extremism

Every “thought-leader” needs a catchy leading thought. Francis Fukuyama made his name and fortune with the definitive “one-liner” political meme The End of History?, which in the early 1990s seemed a smart way of describing the collapse of communism, and the “triumph” of the west. Since then, in the years in which history has clearly refused to end, Fukuyama, a senior fellow at Stanford University, has had various stabs at repeating that initial success. His new book, Identity, proposes the term “thymos” as the key to understanding our unnerving political moment.

“Thymos” (it does no harm, for credibility or book sales if the crucial thought-leading term is best understood by Ancient Greeks) comes from Plato’s Republic.It ...

‘So shocked’: customer wins bookshop in raffle

Owner avoids having to close Bookends in Cardigan by raffling it off to customers who spent more than £20

The UK’s newest independent bookseller is gearing up to open his doors – after winning a bookshop in a raffle.

The unusual prize was dreamed up by Paul Morris, who opened Bookends in Cardigan four years ago. The shop is profitable and would have made an estimated £30,000 in a sale, but Morris said he wanted to give someone else the chance to realise their dream of running a bookshop. Over the last three months, anyone who spent more than £20 was eligible to be entered into a raffle to win it.

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The Wonky Donkey: viral video of grandmother makes picture book a bestseller

A Scottish grandmother’s reading of the 2009 children’s book to her grandson has seen demand for it skyrocket around the world

A home video of a Scottish grandmother’s uncontrollable giggles while reading The Wonky Donkey picture book to her baby grandson have sent book lovers around the world rushing to get their hands on a copy, with publishers left scrambling to meet demand.

New Zealander Craig Smith’s children’s book, based on Smith’s song of the same name, tells of a three-legged – or wonky – donkey, adding a new adjective every few pages until it ends with a “spunky, hanky-panky cranky stinky dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey”. In a recent video made by her daughter, Scottish granny Janice Clark reads the story to her four-month-old grandson Archer, and laughs progressively harder as the donkey becomes increasingly bizarre. “Oh dear, how can anybody read this seriously,” says Clark. “This ...

How feelings took over the world

Populist turbulence, viral panics, experts under attack: instinct and emotion have overtaken facts and reason in the digital age – can feelings now propel us into a better future?

On a late Friday afternoon in November last year, police were called to London’s Oxford Circus for reasons described as “terror-related”. Oxford Circus underground station was evacuated, producing a crush of people as they made for the exits. Reports circulated of shots being fired, and photos and video appeared online of crowds fleeing the area, with heavily armed police officers heading in the opposite direction. Amid the panic, it was unclear where exactly the threat was emanating from, or whether there might be a number of attacks going on simultaneously, as had occurred in Paris two years earlier. Armed police stormed Selfridges department store, while shoppers were instructed to evacuate the building. Inside the shop at the time was the pop ...

John Steinbeck was a sadistic womaniser, says wife in memoir

Gwyn Conger Steinbeck’s newly unearthed book tells of troubled marriage to author

John Steinbeck’s wife Gwyn Conger Steinbeck describes the author as “a sadistic man” and a serial womaniser, in a newly unearthed memoir found in Wales, which is set to be published for the first time this week.

The manuscript for My Life With John Steinbeck, by the author’s second wife and mother of his two children, has been in Montgomery, Powys ever since its ghostwriter, the British journalist Douglas Brown, died on holiday in Yorkshire in the 1990s. The manuscript was passed to Brown’s brother in Montgomery and was recently discovered by his neighbour Bruce Lawton, who is publishing it.

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Waterstones buys Foyles ‘in face of Amazon’s siren call’

Takeover will make business better able to ‘champion pleasures of real bookshops’

Waterstones is buying the historic family-owned book chain Foyles in a surprise deal.

James Daunt, the managing director of Waterstones, made a pointed reference to the competitive threat of Amazon as he announced the deal. He said the takeover would make it better able to “champion the pleasures of real bookshops in the face of Amazon’s siren call”.

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Diplomacy and delusion: books to understand differences between Brits and Americans

The British both admire and distrust the Americans, while the Americans feel both respect and contempt for the British – Kathleen Burk recommends authors to explain why

As someone who was born in the US but bred in Britain – I was still malleable when I arrived as an undergraduate – I believe in first amendment rights but bridle when anyone jumps a queue. British-American attitudes have dominated my life, both intellectually and personally. The British have always been fascinated by the US, and over the centuries have written countless novels, stories, reflections and books of reportage on America. In the 19th century at least 200 travellers’ tales were published, a notable example being Frances Trollope’s Domestic Manners of the Americans (1832). A bestseller on both sides of the Atlantic, it confirmed suspicions in Britain of the awfulness of some Americans.

Arthur Conan Doyle was besotted in a different way. ...

The Falklands retold – by my fallen uncle’s paratrooper comrades

Helen Parr’s uncle never returned from the 1982 conflict. She explains why she had to learn exactly how he died from the men who fought alongside him for her book, Our Boys

On the morning of 28 May 1982, Lt Col Herbert “H” Jones was killed leading his men over a ridge in what was to be one of the decisive confrontations of the Falklands war. He was one of 17 British soldiers to lose their lives in the two-day battle of Goose Green, along with about 50 Argentinians, but his was the derring-do that caught the public imagination and would be posthumously rewarded with one of the conflict’s two Victoria Crosses.

Hours earlier, in the freezing darkness, a 19-year-old soldier in Jones’s parachute battalion had a narrow escape when a bullet deflected by his water bottle came to rest in his navel. Badly shocked and bruised, Pte Dave Parr was ...

UK festival directors demand end to ‘overly complex’ visa process

Leading figures from arts, music and culture call for government reforms

Directors of some of Britain’s biggest festivals have signed a letter calling for the government to make its “overly complex” visa application process more transparent, after a surge in refusals and complications for authors, artists and musicians invited to perform in the UK.

Related: Visa refusals starve UK’s arts festivals of world talent | Letters

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‘Disgrace and shame’: Alan Moore points to Boris Johnson in Grenfell fire comic

Moore has briefly come out of retirement to contribute to a new anthology raising money for PTSD support for survivors

Comics legend Alan Moore, who announced he was “pretty much done” with the medium two years ago, is making a brief foray out of retirement to point an excoriating finger at Boris Johnson over the Grenfell Tower fire.

Moore, the author of the seminal graphic novels Watchmen and V for Vendetta, is one of 24 contributors to a forthcoming comic anthology, 24 Panels, which is designed to raise money for those affected by the fire that broke out in London’s 24-storey Grenfell Tower last year, killing 72 people. An illustrated poem, his comic, “If Einstein’s Right …”, touches on fragmentary moments from different lives and features a mug-shot image of Boris Johnson.

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Woman’s Weekly’s ‘exploitative’ contracts anger authors

As well as slashing fees for short stories, the magazine has demanded fiction writers waive all rights to their work

The new issue of the Woman’s Weekly fiction special is out now, promising its readers short stories from writers who “never fail to come up with new twists and turns and unexpected plots”. But, in a twist that may have surprised the editors, authors are up in arms over a new contract that demands all rights for any story it publishes.

Woman’s Weekly has been a British newsstand favourite for a century, with its blend of cakes and crochet, fiction and fashion. It is now part of media giant TI Media, which produces magazines including Homes & Gardens and Marie Claire.

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Four Feet Under by Tamsen Courtenay review – talking to homeless people

Rough sleepers are highly visible but we too often don’t really see them. A journalist decided to find out their stories

The most maddening and self-defeating aspect of the Brexit mess is that it consumes political energy and media coverage that is desperately needed elsewhere. More than anything, it is needed by the hundreds of thousands of people in Britain who do not have adequate homes, and most urgently by the estimated 4,500 people who are sleeping on the streets of British cities each night. It only takes a short stroll through any city centre to see that this country is in the grip of a crisis – rough sleeping has increased by an estimated 134% since a Tory-led coalition took power in 2010, according to National Audit Office figures. The lack of any big policy initiative aimed at getting a grip on this situation – or indeed any ...

Family claims win in high court challenge to Northants library cuts

Proposed measures by struggling local authority had not considered statutory duties closely enough, judge rules

A young girl and her family who took on Northamptonshire county council over its plans to close 21 libraries have claimed a win in the high court, after a judge ruled that the cash-strapped council would have to revisit its plans while “paying attention to its legal obligations”.

Mrs Justice Yip, announcing her judicial review judgment on Tuesday, found that the council’s decision-making process had been unlawful, and that it had not properly considered whether it would be operating a comprehensive and efficient library service – as required by law – once the much-criticised closures had gone ahead.

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Home Office stopped author from speaking at UK festival, says publisher

Visa refusals mean Palestinian Nayrouz Qarmout unlikely to get to Edinburgh book festival

The publisher of a Palestinian author denied a visa to appear at the Edinburgh book festival this year says the Home Office has effectively stopped her from speaking, despite reversing its decision.

Nayrouz Qarmout, who is also a TV journalist, was one of a dozen Middle Eastern and African writers and illustrators who had their applications for visitor visas refused, sometimes multiple times, ahead of this year’s festival, which began on Saturday.

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Ukip members sent ‘mind-broadening’ reading after bookshop attack

Index on Censorship gives books promoting tolerance to trio suspended from party after attack on Bookmarks in London

Free speech campaigners have sent books including The Handmaid’s Tale, The Color Purple and the Qur’an to the three Ukip members who attacked a socialist bookshop in London to “introduce them to different ideas”.

Bookmarks in Bloomsbury was attacked by 12 people – one of whom was wearing a Donald Trump mask – just before it closed on Saturday. The group chanted far-right slogans, knocked over displays, ripped up magazines, and intimidated the two members of staff who were there. Ukip later said that three of its members, Elizabeth Jones, Luke Nash-Jones and Martin Costello had been suspended, pending an investigation into the incident.

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UK refuses visas for a dozen Edinburgh book festival authors

Festival director Nick Barley says ‘humiliating’ application process will deter writers and damage cultural life in UK

A dozen authors who were planning to attend this year’s Edinburgh international book festival have had their visas refused, according to the director, Nick Barley, who warned that the “humiliating” application process would deter artists from visiting the UK.

The festival, which starts on Saturday and includes appearances from 900 authors and illustrators from 55 countries, routinely provides assistance for visa applications. It has reported a jump in refusals over the last few years.

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