‘Weirder than any added landscape’: a agrarian airing in the Fens

Feathery reeds rise from dykes, bullrush heads turn to candyfloss in the spring and two red kites soar high on thermals in a blue sky. The only sounds are a skylark’s song, the amorous grunting of hidden toads and the occasional distant drum-drum of a high-speed train. Beyond stretches a vast plain of hedgeless fields, …

Verne Troyer: a activity in pictures

Verne Troyer, who at 2ft 8in was one of the world’s shortest men, racked up 30 film credits in a career spanning 24 years Actor who played Mini-Me in Austin Powers films dies age 49

Northern Ireland’s absent moment: how the peaceful protests of ’68 escalated into years of blood-soaked conflict

When did the Troubles begin? Was it when the first stone was thrown or the first shot fired? Or did they begin earlier with a police baton blow? Or earlier still with a peaceful march demanding civil rights? As with almost anything to do with Northern Ireland’s turbulent political past, the moment is contested. For …

Japan ambassador’s Brexit warning: there won’t be a accord bigger than the individual market

Koji Tsuruoka is sipping green tea in Japan’s splendid embassy in Mayfair, recalling how his first two years as Japan’s ambassador to the UK have not gone quite according to plan. At least, they haven’t turned out how his predecessors assured him they would. One after another, ex-ambassadors advised him, before he took up the …

Claire Denis: ‘I couldn’t affliction beneath about the Weinstein affair’

In her new film, Let the Sunshine In, Juliette Binoche plays an intelligent, creative, beautiful woman who seeks sexual rapture with men who are variously pompous, self-absorbed, rebarbative and physically unprepossessing. We’ve seen this scenario before in countless French films – but they’re usually directed by pompous, self-absorbed, rebarbative, physically unprepossessing men. It’s unusual to …

Curtis Sittenfeld: ‘I accept beneath to address fiction about Melania Trump bifold digits of times’

Curtis Sittenfeld is the bestselling author of five novels, including Prep, Sisterland and American Wife. The latter scandalised some US liberals with its sympathetic portrayal of first lady Laura Bush, to whom Sittenfeld, a Democrat, tweeted in sympathy last week after the death of her mother-in-law, Barbara. She went on to horrify Jane Austen purists …

Leslie Jamison: ‘Why was activity such a arid arctic if I wasn’t drinking?’

The American writer Leslie Jamison is the bestselling author of the acclaimed essay collection The Empathy Exams (2014). She grew up in Los Angeles, read English at Harvard, studied for her MFA in creative writing at the Iowa Workshop, and has a PhD from Yale, where her thesis looked at addiction and sincerity in 20th-century …

Kenneth MacMillan: Steps Back In Time analysis – the alley to greatness

When the choreographer Kenneth MacMillan died in 1992, he left behind him more than 90 ballets, created over 39 years. His last evening was spent at Covent Garden, at a revival of his ballet Mayerling; during the performance he suffered a fatal heart attack backstage. The principal dancer performing the lead role of Mary Vetsera …

‘Amazing but aswell concerning’: awe-inspiring wildlife ventures to arctic Alaska

Last July, Nagruk Harcharek was savouring a bucolic visit to a cabin that sits on the lip of the Chipp river, deep in the Alaskan Arctic, when something caught his eye. Shimmering on a rack where he hangs his caught whitefish to dry was, astonishingly, a dragonfly. “I’d been going to camp there for 30 …