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Act now to save the Middle East’s Christians

It is hard to believe that at one time nearly the whole of the Middle East and much of north Africa were predominantly Christian. Think of the great Christian cities such as Alexandria, Damascus, Edessa, Constantinople and Carthage. Monasticism, the great civilising force, in both east and west, took its rise to the dusty end

Quentin Letts: Why hymns are the true voice of England

When all seems too gloomy to endure, I take myself up to the British Camp in the Malverns, there among the windblown tufts and Iron Age ditches. With the rain lashing and my trousers flap-flapping like two Spithead flags, I lean on the gale and claim my birthright: to hum hymns of England and think

P.D. James: Who killed the golden age of crime?

In 1934, in her preface to an anthology of short detective stories, Dorothy L. Sayers wrote, ‘Death in particular seems to provide the minds of the Anglo-Saxon race with a greater fund of innocent amusement than any other single subject.’ And, to judge by the worldwide popularity of this essentially innocent genre, it is not

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Spectator survey: What would you tell your 14-year-old self?

Joan Bakewell Broadcaster and journalist Those early teenage years are a time of doubt and discovery. Take time to be alone and speak honestly to yourself. Weigh up what you think others — family, friends, teachers — think of you. Then consider what you feel about the world and your place in it. Read the world’s great

Susan Hill short story: The Boy on the Hillside

Listen to Susan Hill read The Boy on the Hillside: [audioboo url=”https://audioboo.fm/boos/1816403-susan-hill-reads-the-boy-on-the-hillside”][/audioboo] The boy, Seth, stirred in his sleep. ‘Cold…’ He had pushed the blanket off, with his tossing and turning about. ‘Here, here.’ The man seated on the ground nearest to him rearranged Seth’s covering, pulling it up and tucking it under him until

Christmas Short Story: The Road Not Travelled

Today Meredith Swann is driving in her new car under the M40 flyover checking on her GPS system to see if she’s following the flowing arrows correctly. She has switched off the woman’s voice — ‘Turn left in 200 yards’ — because it reminds her uncannily of her mother, all calm, quiet advice with a


Lily Cole’s notebook: My digital dream

I’m in London to work on impossible.com, the social network I have been developing for two years. Impossible is a place where people can post things they want (from work experience to world peace), and things they’re prepared to give (from Mandarin lessons to website design). The idea is to use a social network to

Andrew Marr’s notebook: Rescued by Jonathan Ross

We live by simple stories. X has a stroke. X recovers; or doesn’t. But we live inside more complicated stories. Recovering from a stroke is a long haul; I still have an almost useless left arm and walk like a wildly intoxicated sailor. In my mid-fifties, my stroke has been a special excursion ticket into

Notes on...

Music in Vienna

There is no finer city in which to hear music than Vienna. Or, to put it more felicitously, there is no finer city in which to listen to music for, as music-lovers know, there is a world of difference between hearing and listening. In the Imperial City, where most of the great composers in the