'I like to play with words. It's fun and it's my job.'

Terry Pratchett, literary superstar and cult hero, performed a publishing miracle when he dreamed up the universe of Discworld 30 years ago, and his magic is far from used up. Speaking to a Dublin audience recently the wizard of fantasy fiction talked about his inspirations, his struggle with Alzheimer's disease and his new novel, Dodger. By Ed O’Hare.

100 years and beyond

The Labour party was formed a century ago. In that time it has been as famous for its failures as its successes, but now that it has been overwhelmingly placed in government what does the party need to become if it is to meet the needs of the Irish people? In Making the Difference? a selection of historians, journalists and political figures have been brought together to look over Labour's record and answer that question. By Ed O'Hare.

125 years on, Sherlock's still in his element

A century and a quarter on from his first print appearance Sherlock Holmes curently has not one but two new incarnations, Robert Downey Jnr in the cinema and Benedict Cumberbatch on television. While countless other fictional heroes have come and gone, Holmes has never been more popular. But the greatest mystery remains: why do so many readers fall in love with the wizard of Baker Street? By Ed O'Hare.

An authority on evil

William Golding, the author of The Lord of the Flies, was born 100 years ago this year. A man tormented by demons both on and off the page, he was a writer with an intimate understanding of man's capacity for violence and cruelty and his brilliant and desperate novels take an uncompromising look at human evil. By Ed O'Hare.

Making the case for atheism

Philosopher A.C. Grayling was in Dublin last week to give the opening lecture in a series organised by Atheist Ireland. There he argued that non-belief in God is the only rational choice and that we must create a secular society to protect human rights. By Ed O'Hare.

Be afraid. Be very afraid...

A ghost story writer without equal, M.R. James's tales of the supernatural have terrified generations of readers. Now a Trinity College professor has edited the definitive edition of James's stories. The perfect book to rediscover on these dark winter nights, the Collected Ghost Stories of M.R. James is a masterclass in the uncanny, but don't be surprised if you find yourself sleeping with the light on. By Ed O'Hare.

The Political Gene

Book review: Dennis Sewell, The Political Gene (Picador, 2010).

He was the man who gave us the theory of evolution, but according to Dennis Sewell, Charles Darwin was also responsible for the development of a monstrous ideology that cost the lives of millions and which could be about to dominate the world of politics again. In his book, The Political Gene, Sewell presents a disturbing case for revising our opinion of the scientist who explained the origin of life on Earth. By Ed O’Hare.

Your only man

Brian O’Nuallain, better known both as the novelist Flann O’Brien and the journalist Myles na gCopaleen, was a writer capable of making jokes that everyone from academics to working men could laugh at. As we celebrate the centenary of his birth we should not forget that O’Nuallain’s works, like the man himself, contain hidden sides that reveal much about the paradoxical nature of being Irish. By Ed O’Hare.

There is an unwritten law of literary criticism which states that a great writer may be many things but they can never be funny.

Delusions of gender

A fascinating look at how our environment shapes our sexuality and a valiant rebuttal of many of the claims made by neuroscience, Cordelia Fine’s new book Delusions of Gender is a lively and worrying work which argues that the scientific community has often sabotaged the fight for gender equality. By Ed O’Hare.

A life in the firing line

He has endured set-backs, betrayals and litigation and his company has survived recessions, take-over bids and near-bankruptcy. Hero or villain, star of The Apprentice Sir Alan Sugar is a man who knows what it takes to keep a business alive. His autobiography, What You See is What You Get, is a fascinating, articulate and funny account of one man’s journey from the market stalls of the East End to doing business with some of the biggest names in technology and the media. By Ed O’Hare.