Mister Malcontent

Bill Hicks has been derided as an anti-corporate fanatic, UFO devotee and gun fetishist. But what he would really have hated is being described as the lost saviour of stand-up, writes Allan Brown

Nicotine

Hope and despair

The highly lauded Nell Zink is one of many US writers considering the challenges of activism today, but her work lacks one vital element, writes Sibylla Kalid

History repeats

Did the former Stoke MP lift sections of a long ago OU book for his 2004 historical tome? One of the original authors Chris Harvie finds it oddly familiar

How I write

By puppeteer and children’s author Tania Czajka

Cast the first stone

Shirley Jackson’s subversive horror story The Lottery remains as pertinent today as when it first appeared seventy years ago, writes Sibylla Kalid

High Times

The creators of Britain’s first counter cultural paper talk to Neil Cooper about their new visual catalogue of the ’60s radical underground press

Passion play

Author Malcolm Devlin discusses fairy tales, genre-jumping and placating restless stories with Naomi Richards

The glamour chase

Sifting through a new history of the Hollywood blacklists Kenneth Wright recalls a time of violence and treachery with unintended lessons for today’s film makers

Speed of life

Alistair Braidwood is charmed by a book of recollections from Bowie fans and collaborators

Cabinet of wonders

 A spellbinding collection of short stories is Naomi Richards’ Book of the Year

Everything you know is wrong

As her new collection of short stories is launched, Meaghan Delahunt talks to Naomi Richards about the art of writing

World book trip

Which novel would you recommend to someone who had never read a word written in your country? The first stop on our tour is Scotland, where Alan Warner highlights James Kelman’s astonishing Kieron Smith, boy

Every mouth needs filling

Lilly Markaki on why Hilton Als’s White Girls still matters

No one is safe

Lilly Markaki on Agamben’s timely warnings about state power and perpetual war

Seize the day

Robin McAlpine’s latest book urges Scottish independence campaigners to grab the initiative and win the big arguments, writes Paddy Bort

Kill the poor

A beginners’ guide to Ron Butlin’s fiction. By Alistair Braidwood

Ugly and Proud of It

The rise of tartan noir was a key part of Glasgow’s cultural revival. But our contemporary crime writing betrays a fatal smugness, says Kenneth Wright

Soul train

Stuart Cosgrove’s latest is an eloquent mix of social history and musical retrospective, writes Alistair Braidwood

Start making sense

Common Weal’s Book of Ideas offers a wealth of inspiration for Holyrood policy making, writes Paddy Bort

Sister of mine

Kirstin Innes discusses Fishnet, its follow-up and the art of writing with Naomi Richards

Guns and roses

Andrea Needham’s lucid book celebrates an audacious direct action against the arms trade, writes Paul Rogers

Royal Babylon

Heathcote Williams has a fearsome back catalogue spanning five decades as an activist, writer and poet. His latest works are typically acute, essential polemics, writes Neil Cooper

How soon is now?

Two very different books on Scotland’s post-indyref options are united by a glaring omission, says Paddy Bort

The boy done good

As Billy Bragg releases a new book of lyrics Alistair Braidwood assesses the career of Britain’s finest political songwriter

Other voices, other rooms: part one

In the first of a series of interviews with contemporary American writers, Lisa Locascio meets Francine Prose

Mark Ellen

The Zelig of pop

Alistair Braidwood enjoys exquisite storytelling from a self-effacing writer who covered every major music event of the last 40 years

When we ruled the school

Alistair Braidwood is charmed by Stuart David’s typically-understated memoir of the early days of Belle and Sebastian

Tracks of my tears

Simon Frith salutes a brilliant piece of music writing which returns the song to centre stage

Games without frontiers

Everyone looking for a lasting peace in Ukraine should read Andrew Wilson’s incisive book, writes Stephen White.

portrait of judith Freeman 1986

Other voices, other rooms: part 2

Part 2: Lisa Locascio talks to author Judith Freeman about writing, madness and the creative spark.