Galaxy of stories

Also via The Times: The Galaxy of Stories, "where famous names from the worlds of film, TV and comedy tell memorable children’s stories and bring them to life in their own unique way. In this section, parents can download new stories each week to keep the family entertained at home or in the car." Sponsored by Classic Fm and Ford, a new podcast is added each week. Examples on the site so far include:

Cinderella: Will Cinders be doomed to the life of a skivvy? Ashley Jensen has the answer.

The Princess and the Pea: Samantha Morton describes how to tell a true princess in this classic fairytale .

Little Red Riding Hood: Hungry for more? Tune in to Miranda Richardson as she tells the complete story.

Alice in Wonderland: Imelda Staunton reads the complete tale of Alice’s extraordinary adventures.

Sinbad: Join Christopher Eccleston as he reads Sinbad, a gripping tale of wild seas and wild laughs.

The Snow Queen: Absolutely Fabulous star Joanna Lumley reads a chilling version of The Snow Queen.

The Golden Goose: Hear comedian Harry Enfield read a new and exciting version of the cautionary tale

The Emperor’s Birthday Suit: Richard E Grant reads a comical take on an old story.

Susan Hill, once removed, twice

Susan Hill, or rather her influence, features twice in The Times today (Saturday 27 October).

First is the winner of the Times-Vintage Hallowe’en ghost story competition, judged by Susan, Erica Wagner (literary editor of The Times) and Liz Foley (editorial director of Vintage classics). The story is a chiller in miniature, The Witch’s Promise by Robert Fenner. You can read the two runners’ up, We’ll Meet Again by Shirley Wright and The Resident by Roger Wareham, here.

The second featuring of Susan Hill is a review of her new book, The Man in the Picture. "In the capable hands of Hill, the Gothic novel, that venerable but undeniably pensionable genre, finds a new lease of life." As well as finding the review at the link in this sentence, you can also listen to Susan reading from her famous book The Woman in Black.

Time waits for everyone

There are pianos everywhere, there for the playing, there for the sound of places, to turn the soil, to uncover the roots of things, as roadmaps to our true motives, instructing, retelling, drawing from us — with a patience and sincerity we may not always manage on our own — what is essential about breathing and dreaming, what may really be happening as we run blood through ourselves, share or take it from others, passing into Autumn, only just aware of the trees.
-piano improvisations found in Hungary, Germany, Poland, Russia, and in rememberance of things past. Played by Viggo Mortensen, recorded by Travis Dickerson.