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Heart and Soul: Stephen Westaby on Why He Wrote Fragile Lives

Professor Stephen Westaby began his extraordinary career as a hospital porter, eventually finding his ultimate calling as a heart surgeon. After 35 years on the frontline of British medicine, his memoir Fragile Lives stands as a remarkable, candid account of a life lived for the salvation of others.

Why You Need to Read The Path

Why You Need to Read The Path

Posted on 7th Mar, 2017 by Sally Campbell

A Harvard Professor of Chinese History, Michael Puett found he was repeatedly being asked the same question: how can the ideas, taught in his classes, be put to use in modern life? Intrigued, he teamed up with Christine Gross-Loh to write The Path, a fresh and accessible look at Chinese philosophy that makes the bold claim that the teachings of Confucius, Zhuangzi and Mencius can change your life for the better. Exploring ancient Chinese thought within the framework of modern culture, the book has one simple, essential lesson to impart: the smallest actions have the most profound ramifications. Here, Christine Gross-Loh explains how we could all use a little steer in the right direction.

Size Zero: Victoire Dauxerre on her Life as a Disappearing Model

At seventeen, Victoire Dauxerre was plucked from the streets of Paris to enter the apparently intoxicating world of high fashion modelling, unaware of the pain and psychological darkness that was soon to follow in her quest to follow the industry’s brutal expectations. Size Zero: My Life as a Disappearing Model is Dauxerre’s frank account of that experience.

Mark Chapman on Parenthood, Sport and The Love of The Game

Mark Chapman is a familiar face to anyone watching or listening to sport on the BBC.  He first came to prominence as a sports reporter on BBC Radio 1 when he became a regular on the Scott Mills show.  He now presents Match of the Day 2 as well as the NFL show.  

His brilliant new book, The Love of The Game, explores the many ways sport can shape our attitudes, our ambitions and, ultimately, our lives; it will resonate with anyone who has participated in sport, at any level, whether a coach, a supportive parent, or a mid-week five-a-sider. In this piece written for Waterstones, he outlines the inspiration for the book and the many positives he discovered while researching the role sport plays in his own family.

The Sunday Times/ PFD Young Writer of the Year Award Shortlisters share their Essential Reads

The Sunday Times/ Peters Fraser and Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award is synonymous with fresh, bold, startlingly unique approaches to fiction, non-fiction and poetry. In the second of our articles probing the enviable minds of its shortlisters, Andrew McMillan, Benjamin Wood, Max Porter and Jessie Greengrass share just what books they have lying on their bedside table.

The Sunday Times/ PFD Young Writer of the Year Award Shortlisters Share their Writing Tips

Every year, The Sunday Times/ Peters Fraser and Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Prize shortlist showcases the most inventive, unusual and down-right brilliant young writers. Andrew Holgate, one of this year's judges, said: "This is a sensationally strong list of books and writers, all of whom have a real future in literature, and any of whom as winner would stand comparison with the prize’s extraordinary list of past recipients."  Showing us just how it’s done, shortlisters  Andrew McMillan, Benjamin Wood, Max Porter and Jessie Greengrass provide their hints on how to be a better writer.

Space Odysseys: The Royal Institution's Christmas Lectures

Mankind's fascination with the cosmos stretches back long before the first unmanned mission of Sputnik 1 in 1957. The Royal Institution's Christmas Lectures can attest to this long-held curiosity; taking place almost every year since 1825, the lectures have so often been devoted to unravelling the mysteries of our universe. Freelance astronomy writer Colin Stuart was lucky enough to gain access to the RI's archive and has published a hand-picked selection of the lectures in the handsome and insightful collection, 13 Journey's Through Space and Time, with a foreward by astronaut Tim Peake. Stuart shares some thoughts on our passion for space exploration. 

Q & A: Paul Sterry and Rob Read

Q & A: Paul Sterry and Rob Read

Posted on 22nd Nov, 2016 by Sally Campbell

Collins Life-Size Birds is as much a celebration of photography as it is of Britain and Northern Europe's rich and varied birdlife. For the first time, owing to recent advances in digital imaging, contemporary photographers can capture images of birds in as much detail as can be seen with the naked eye. The resulting imagery is simply breath-taking.  Here, Collins Life-Sized Birds co-creators Paul Sterry and Rob Read explain their ground-breaking work.

Philippe Sands Clinches Britain's Biggest Non-Fiction Prize

Philippe Sands Clinches Britain's Biggest Non-Fiction Prize

Posted on 15th Nov, 2016 by Sally Campbell & Peter Whitehead

Since 1999, the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction has reigned as Britain’s pre-eminent award for non-fiction writing. From Anthony Beevor’s Stalingrad onward, each year has brought us a winner that has moved on to become a Waterstones staple – Anna Funder’s Stasiland, for example, her engrossing, insider account of pre-unification Germany, or the groundbreaking melange of genres that was Helen Macdonald’s bestselling H is for Hawk. Now running under its new name, The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction, this £30,000 award continues to be the literary benchmark for factual writing published in the UK.

Under the Chair of Stephanie Flanders, the five-strong judging panel have chosen a new successor to that fine list with Philippe Sands’ East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, which tonight conquered a superb shortlist to claim The Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-Fiction 2016.

Matchstick Scientist: Helen Czerski’s Mancunian Heritage

Helen Czerski is a physicist, oceanographer and broadcaster with a passion for revealing the wonder in our everyday lives. Her fascination with the world of fast-moving, small-scale phenomena led her first to undertake a PhD in Experimental Explosive Physics at Cambridge University and has since led her to the study of ocean bubble formation. Her first book A Storm in a Teacup is a brilliantly entertaining introduction to physics in general that manages to make this hugley complex topic accessible to all.

Shaun Tan: The Grimm Sculptor

Shaun Tan: The Grimm Sculptor

Posted on 31st Oct, 2016 by Sally Campbell

Shaun Tan is an award-winning artist, illustrator and author. Beloved for his quirky, surreal style, Tan is best known for his illustrative work on the picture books The Lost Thing and The Rabbits. His latest book, The Singing Bones, is an exquisitely unusual, entirely original and simply beautiful collection of art inspired by Grimm’s Fairy Tales. We are honoured to present this behind-the-scenes glimpse of Tan's artistic process, exclusive to Waterstones and perfectly apt for All Hallows' Eve.

Adam Rutherford: The Story Of Our DNA

Dr Adam Rutherford is a science writer, broadcaster and the author of A Brief History of Everyone Who Ever Lived, his talents extending from being an editor of the prestigious journal Nature to acting as a scientific advisor to the films World War Z and Ex Machina. In the following article, he takes us on a brief journey through the history of human genetics, taking in our species' fascinating pre-history,  the erroneous uses of genetics to justify racism, and along the way provides a glimpse of the many shades of ambiguity in the human genome.