Once I get to know some people in a country I absorb their history and culture continually; they tell me about their nations history (a golden age when they conquered their neighbours is invariably highlighted). Then I start reading and I never stop learning about their culture until I leave it.
Justin Butcher's Devil's Passion is a welcome antidote to the dull and done to death, a light sandblasting for jaded souls. It's also a timely piece, casting Jesus in the role of extremist preacher, whose dangerous ideas have the potential to cause untold instability in the Middle East and here at home
In 1859, Mary Anne Evans became George Eliot in order to be taken more seriously as a novelist at a time when it was believed women wrote only light romances. Today, it's male authors who adopt female pen names to be taken seriously as romance writers.
The email says that you really like some of the photos I took of you and would like to use them in your book. It also says that in return for the use of my photos you will give me a "proper credit" but that given it is planned to be a self release the budget is "financially limited", by which your management company mean "we're not going to pay you".
Once you have your ethical code in order, I would like say that photographing strangers is awesomely fun! Not only can you get great photos but you can also meet some really cool people. It's a brilliant way to penetrate a new culture and get under the skin of a new place.
The terrifying financial burdens that come with living in London, the sense of it increasingly becoming a steel and glass playground for the super wealthy, can make us ordinary Londoners feel disenfranchised. The huge pressure to achieve and succeed, if not just survive, leaves little scope for moments of awe and genuine peace in our frantic minds.
The literary world is currently witnessing a boom in Young Adult fiction, but the state of diversity in YA writing is dire. Fewer than three per cent ...
Mat's artistic career has included drawing cartoons, being a commercial artist, working in advertising and as a fine artist. However, his current passion is reinterpreting discarded materials he finds in second-hand shops, in skips and in walks by the river.
I don't hate anything that's 'in', I just hate being pestered. It's boring and makes me grumpy. Everywhere I look there's hype. Hype on social media, hype at the Oscars, hype at work, hype at the gym, hype in my real world, hype in my virtual world. Hype, hype, hype. And then I had a double epiphany: hype has killed my cultural mojo!!!
Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat, wrote a blog piece recently about the disturbing practice arising at some book festivals, where authors are not paid for appearing. Her rallying cry was taken up by the Bookseller and the Society of Authors, which recently published guidelines about the level at which authors should peg event fees.
The threat of nuclear annihilation seemed an ever present theme in the culture I absorbed growing up - it was there in the origin stories of the Daleks and the Incredible Hulk, it was there in Raymond Briggs' When the Wind Blows, it was there in Threads.
Magnificent Obsessions has a fascinating premise - to gain insight into the work of a number of post-war and contemporary artists from around the world through examination of their personal collections
Duchamp and his little cabal of antagonistic dada's wanted art to be a purely intellectual tool. Well, plenty of modern art, and certainly contemporary art, asks the audience to seek meaning from ostensibly nonsensical pieces and, for me, this is exciting and very rarely boring.
In the first of our 'quick 5' interview series, we catch up with seminal Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, about her work, her wardrobe and last night's dinner.
But it's not just the pervasive power of sexism that makes 'A Room of One's Own' so relevant. It's also the fact that it can spark passionate, and sometimes divisive discussions that we have to have about the way that men and women interact, and what it takes to ensure full gender equality.
Producing a photograph every day was and is hard. It forced us to be creative and get the best out of every day and situation. More than ever it made us realise the beauty that is all around us, and that even with a simple camera you can get beautiful pictures on a boring day.