All items: Mexico

Ian McMillan entertains Geoff Hattersley with a look at the world through Barnsley glasses, featuring rubber jam tarts, a novelty Coronation Street alarm clock and a very strange game of chess.

Lucinda Hawksley is not the first writer to feel the siren call of the whale. The whales she seeks are not white, though, but blue and grey and humpbacked — and the hunt culminates not in a killing but a kind of epiphany: an unlocking of writer’s block and a release of grief.

Hugh Thomson speaks with George Miller about the importance of a sense of humour to the travel writer, the erotic pottery of the Moche people, the challenge of writing about his own country, and the importance of the vodka mule in archaeological expeditions.

In Mexico today real-life crime is both stranger and more egregious than fiction. But where does this leave writers who wish to document gang culture, random killings and government corruption? Nick Caistor discovers that the spirit of truth-telling is alive and kicking, and that poems and novels are as much vehicles of protest as demonstrating on the streets.