First letter and illustration from Father Christmas, 1920.
© The Tolkien Estate Ltd, 1976.
J.R.R. Tolkien wrote letters to his children from Father Christmas every year for 23 years. And they're filled with elves, goblins and playful polar bears.
‘Man Combating Ignorance’ – what’s science’s role?
Century of Progress Records, 1927-1952, University of Illinois at Chicago Library
There's no shortage of problems facing humanity. Science's role in how to tackle them has long been debated – including memorably by two of the 20th century's greatest literary figures.
The Times columnist's self-serving critique of one of the greats of English literature says more about his ignorance than anything else.
aradaphotography via Shutterstock
Boris Johnson and Michael Gove may not be the stuff of Orwell's dystopian nightmare, but they clearly know how to talk in 'doublespeak'.
Mark Morton / Flickr
Autumn is the first novel to tackle the UK’s impending departure from the EU.
A new film brings to life the murky underbelly of Victorian London.
Chawton House Library
Two women writers died in July 1817. One was Jane Austen. The other was much more famous.
Rachel, Daphne du Maurier’s enigmatic, modern heroine, played by Rachel Weisz.
Fox Searchlight Pictures
The revered novel's enigmatic, modern heroine captivates and beguiles in a new blockbuster film adaptation.
James Patterson – one of the world's bestselling authors – may not principally be a writer.
William Shakespeare is a sometimes controversial figure in South Africa’s school system.
Most other African countries have a less fractious or problematic relationship to Shakespeare than South Africa does.
He was pigeonholed as a 'crime writer' but Dexter's intelligent style set him above the genre.
Helena Bonham Carter as Miss Havisham in Great Expectations (2012): the archtypal fictional spinster.
Grotesques, prattlers, hysterical women ... historically, spinsters have had a raw deal in fiction. But astonishingly, the situation for older single ladies in contemporary novels has scarcely improved.
Emma Thompson as Elinor Dashwood in the 1995 film of Sense and Sensibility: a competent moral agent drawing only on her intelligence and experience.
Columbia Pictures Corporation
This year is the bicentenary of Jane Austen's death and her celebrity continues to grow. But relegating Austen's work to plots about 'whether the heroine gets her man' belittles her achievement.
Year 12 students in NSW will study fewer texts in their English course.
For the first time since 1911, students in NSW can now complete Year 12 without having read a novel or poetry.
For all its millions of female readers, romance fiction has been dismissed as sappy, trashy and dangerous to read.
Can a gender studies academic also write Mills and Boon novels? And can purple prose be as empowering as a pink pussy hat? The answer is yes, and yes again.
How true is the ‘true’ story of King Arthur?
Did King Arthur really exist? We don’t know but the Arthur we all know and love is entirely fictional.
One of English poetry’s most recognisable voices has been memorialised in Westminster Abbey.
What counts as literature? It's less to do with genre than we think.
© Janie Airey
This year’s competition includes a more eclectic range of writers than perhaps we’ve become used to.
Creative Travel Projects / Shutterstock.com
A volcanic eruption in 1815 triggered a year without a summer – prompting a flowering of nature writing that is all too relevant today.