• Image of Issue 1192: July 17-23

Jane Austen died 200 years ago this week but she can be found on pavements, currency and benches, and is still read widely. Devoney Looser says her enduring popularity owes much to her being part literary novelist, part chick lit.

Credit unions are tiny compared with high street banks but they are determined to grow in size and the range of financial products they provide, reports Mark Metcalf.

The stories in Curtis Dawkins’ first book don’t shy away from their characters’ histories of drink, drugs, violence and criminality. That’s perhaps no surprise, as the author is a convicted murderer with no chance of parole. By Chris Moss.

“Singing turns you into a better person,” says Mary J Blige. “When you can open your mouth and something comes out of it that makes you feel confident and good, it turns you into another person – a better person.” The R&B queen writes a letter to her younger self.

On our arts pages, interviews with Sarah Hall on her new collection of short stories and Ian McMillan on his new opera about ice cream wars in Bradford.

Plus, news, columnist Ali Schofield, Big Issue North vendors Amar and Decembre, crossword, Sudoku and the chance to win Big Issue North merchandise.

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