Remembering Hurricane Katrina

As Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans on August 29th 2005, singer, Charmaine Neville, niece of legendary recording artist, Aaron Neville, found herself trapped in the Lower Ninth Ward. As the flood waters rose, she took refuge on the roof of a school. But in the middle of the night, that safe haven became a nightmare when a figure appeared out of the darkness. She managed to wade to safety and began to organize relief efforts, eventually commandeering a city bus to take people to safety. Traumatised by her experiences, and ignored by the American media, she eventually confided her story exclusively to me.

NG Book Talk With Twitter’s Favourite Shepherd

He’s been called Twitter’s favourite shepherd ( For more than five hundred years James Rebanks’ family have been sheep farmers in England’s ruggedly beautiful Lake District. It was an unchanging way of life that they were proud of. But as he grew up, he realised that some people in the modern world regarded sheep farming [...]

The Poet and The Murderer Comes To BBC Radio Four

In 1997, a newly discovered and previously unpublished poem by the much-loved American poet Emily Dickinson was auctioned in New York. There was great excitement at the idea that a new work by this iconic artist had come to light – as if a new Shakespeare Sonnet had been found locked in a trunk in a Stratford attic, or an unknown Picasso had been stumbled upon at a car boot sale.

After the poem was sold at auction and brought home to Emily Dickinson’s home town of Amherst, with much fanfare, it was revealed to be a brilliant fake. It had been created by a man named Mark Hofmann, a convicted double murderer once dubbed the ‘greatest forger of the 20th century’. He had not only matched the paper, handwriting and pencil with astounding historical accuracy, he had produced a new Dickinson work that passed off as authentic.

How was a convicted double murderer able to craft a poem so perfect that it fooled leading Emily Dickinson scholars and experts in historical documents? Dickinson famously lived much of her life as a recluse, producing her works of concentrated brilliance from the bedroom of her father’s house in Amherst, Massachusetts. She chose not to publish during her lifetime and hand-sewn booklets containing some 1,800 poems were discovered in a locked box in her room after her death. Why does Dickinson continue to fascinate, and what might Hofmann’s fake poem tell us about the true poet’s work and life? The writer and journalist Simon Worrall unfolds a gripping true story of poetry, murder and the art of forgery.

Eat, Cook, Love: How a Girl From Missouri Ended Up in Rome

When Elizabeth Minchilli was 12, her parents gave up their life in St. Louis, Missouri, and moved to Rome. So began her love affair with Italy and its cuisine. Today, her blog has thousands of devoted followers. Her latest book, Eating Rome: Living the Good Life in the Eternal City, celebrates la dolce vita.

NG Book Talk: How One Man Realized His Dream of Visiting Every Country

Albert Podell, a former editor of Playboy magazine, did what all of us fantasize about but very few achieve: He traveled to all 196 countries on Earth.

It took him 50 years. On the way he was chased by water buffalo, broke a few bones, ate weird foods, and was arrested, robbed, and almost lynched. But he lived to tell the tale in a new book, Around the World in Fifty Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth.

Former Trainer Slams SeaWorld for Cruel Treatment of Orcas

In 2013, the movie Blackfish exposed the dark side of orca shows at the marine park franchise SeaWorld by documenting the deaths of several trainers. John Hargrove, author of Beneath the Surface: Killer Whales, SeaWorld, and the Truth Beyond Blackfish, was the senior trainer at the time and one of the most experienced orca handlers in the world. He has since left SeaWorld and is now an advocate for orcas.

Does New Theory Pinpoint Lost City of Atlantis?

Type the word “Atlantis” into Google and 120 million results pop up. Like El Dorado or Shangri-la, the legendary sunken city of Atlantis hovers on the horizon of our imagination, tantalizing, mysterious, unreachable. Meet Me in Atlantis: My Obsessive Quest to Find the Sunken City pulls together the tangled web of conjecture—and sticks a new locator pin in the map.

Was There a Cover-Up After the Sinking of the ‘Lusitania’? 2

One hundred years ago, on May 7, 1915, the Cunard luxury liner Lusitania was sunk by a German torpedo off the Irish coast. It was the fastest, most luxurious passenger ship ever to have sailed the seas and, like the Titanic, was believed to be invulnerable. But of the 1,959 passengers on board, 1,195 perished, among them 128 American citizens.