Culture House Daily

Rest in peace, Judith Kerr

23 May 2019 11:25

I am so, so sad to hear about the death of Judith Kerr. I last saw her only a month…

The Books Podcast: what makes Shakespeare special?

22 May 2019 17:11

In this week’s books podcast my guest is Emma Smith, Professor of Shakespeare Studies at Hertford College, Oxford, who’s talking…

The Green Room Podcast: who are Europe’s ‘Civilisationists’?

20 May 2019 12:28

Thirty years ago, protests, riots and murders followed the publication of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. Three decades later, we…

You can’t blame politics (or Brexit) for Britain’s Eurovision woe

19 May 2019 22:56

Yes, Eurovision is political – but for 20 years now, this fact has been used as an excuse to explain…

Spectator competition winners: poems that go backwards and forwards

19 May 2019 9:30

For the latest competition you were asked to compose a poem that can be read forwards and backwards, i.e. from…

Books Podcast: Ursula Buchan on her grandfather, John Buchan

15 May 2019 11:23

In this week’s books podcast, I’m joined by Ursula Buchan – the author of a hugely involving new life of…

The St George flag. Image: Getty

Spectator competition winners: what is Englishness?

12 May 2019 9:30

The call for poems about Englishness in the style of a well-known poet produced a mostly predictable line-up — from…

The Books Podcast: Bret Easton Ellis on coming out as Patrick Bateman

8 May 2019 19:06

In this week’s books podcast I’m joined by Bret Easton Ellis. The author of Less Than Zero, American Psycho and…

Spectator competition winners: how it feels to be a half-eaten gorgonzola

5 May 2019 9:30

Your latest challenge was to submit a short story that ends ‘I feel like a half-eaten gorgonzola’. Thanks to reader…

Books Podcast: Joseph Stiglitz on the EU’s big economic mistake

2 May 2019 11:43

In this week’s books podcast, my guest is the Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, architect of Bill Clinton’s “Third Way”…

An etching of Robert Burns (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Spectator competition winners: ‘O Poor deceasèd Robbie Burns – or should we call you Rabbie?’: William McGonagall’s elegy on Robert Burns

28 April 2019 8:43

The prompt for this challenge – to submit an elegy by a poet on another poet – was ‘Adonais’, Shelley’s…

The Books Podcast: Nicci Gerrard – The Cold Friction of Expiring Sense

24 April 2019 16:12

In this week’s books podcast I’m joined by the journalist and (as one half of the crime writer Nicci French)…

The Books Podcast: Cass Sunstein – Beyond the Nudge

17 April 2019 11:22

In this week’s Books Podcast I’m joined by Professor Cass Sunstein – best known here as co-author of the hugely…

The return of plainchant

15 April 2019 15:54

‘I’m still warmed up from last night,’ said Sophie Bevan early on a Sunday morning in the practice-room behind the…

Why Peter Sellars’s staging of the St John Passion – which I sang in – was deeply flawed

10 April 2019 18:14

It has been my privilege over the past two weeks to sing in the chorus of the Orchestra of the…

The Books Podcast: who was Søren Kierkegaard?

10 April 2019 17:53

My guest for this week’s books podcast is Clare Carlisle, author of a new life of Søren Kierkegaard, Philosopher of the Heart.…

When Fleabag was a play everyone slagged it off – except The Spectator

10 April 2019 14:36

Over the past six weeks something odd has happened. Head to the culture pages of any newspaper and you can’t…

Spectator competition winners: spring villanelles

7 April 2019 9:45

The latest challenge was to compose a spring villanelle. The villanelle – established in France in the 16th century by…

The Books Podcast: Eglantyne Jebb, the extraordinary woman who founded Save The Children

3 April 2019 17:44

In this week’s books podcast I’m talking to Clare Mulley about The Woman Who Saved The Children, her biography of Eglantyne Jebb…

Spectator competition winners: ‘She had the type of fake tan that would be of great service if she ever had to hide in Oak Furniture Land’ – and other bad analogies

29 March 2019 18:00

Your latest challenge was to come up with toe-curlingly bad analogies. This is an idea shamelessly pinched from the Washington…

Books Podcast: Venice, the perfect city for crime fiction

27 March 2019 19:12

In this week’s books podcast I’m joined by one of the doyennes of crime writing, the brilliant Donna Leon. She…

Art institutions should stop virtue-signalling about funding and focus on what they’re showing

27 March 2019 18:30

The ethics of the private patronage of arts institutions has never been straightforward issue. But as the preoccupation with transparency…

Vintage engraving of a Common nightingale, from Francis Orpen Morris

Spectator competition winners: what Keats really thought of that nightingale

25 March 2019 9:23

For the latest challenge competitors were asked to submit a recently discovered lost poem by a well-known poet that makes…

Books Podcast: how does the world look through a different language?

20 March 2019 18:01

My guest on this week’s books podcast is the Pulitzer-Prize-winning writer Jhumpa Lahiri. Someone whose own fiction has negotiated the…

Spectator competition winners: ‘Shall I prepare thee for a summer’s day?’ (new ways of weather-forecasting)

17 March 2019 8:45

The seed for this week’s task, to put your own spin on a weather forecast, came from the Master Singers’…