George RR Martin has issued a definitive “fuck you” to fans wondering if he will finish his lengthy fantasy series before he dies.

Asked by Swiss daily newspaper Tages-Anzeiger about readers’ worries that A Song of Ice and Fire might not be completed by the author, Martin responded:

"I find that question pretty offensive, frankly, when people start speculating about my death and my health, so fuck you to those people".

In case the message wasn’t entirely clear, he then gave “those people” the finger. Full story here

Photo: Still from Tages Anzeiger’s video interview

“From boardrooms to the streets, women’s anxiety to keep our body mass as low as possible is based on legitimate fears that we will be punished if we attempt fully to enter patriarchal space. No wonder so many of us are starving.”
— In this exclusive extract from her new book, Laurie Penny talks about her eating disorder, the pressure on girls to be beautiful and why weight is a political issue. Read it here

The long list of male alcoholic authors is well known, but what about their literary sisters? Olivia Laing looks back on the great female writers who sought refuge in the bottle and salvation on the page

Marguerite Duras in France, c1955. Photo: Robert Doisneau/Getty

“Maya brought us bestsellers but, more than that, she brought us a reminder that the human need for dignity and recognition is a gift easily given to one another, but frighteningly easy to withhold.”
— Lennie Goodings, Maya Angelou’s publisher, remembers a “funny, gracious, kind, demanding, delightful and wise human being”. Read more
“It was F Scott Fitzgerald wrote that ‘whenever you feel like criticising anyone, remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had’. It is remembering those children let down by the old GCSE, and the culture of low expectations it epitomised, that drives our mission to give all pupils access to our shared literary heritage.”
"No, we have not banned To Kill a Mockingbird," writes one MP in response to last week’s uproar over the new English literature GCSE.
“With Maya Angelou’s passing, America has not just lost a talented Renaissance woman and gifted raconteur. It has lost a connection to its recent past that had helped it make sense of its present. At a time when so many Americans seek to travel ‘color blind’, and free from the baggage of the nation’s racial history, here she stood, tall, straight and true: a black woman from the south intimately connected to the transformative people and politics who helped shape much of America’s racial landscape.”
Gary Younge: Maya Angelou: a titan who lived as though there were no tomorrow
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
— With the death of Maya Angelou, we lose the immense wisdom of the celebrated African American author, poet and civil activist. Which other inspiring sayings would you like to share?