Arifa Akbar

Arifa Akbar is literary editor of The Independent and i newspapers. She has worked at The Independent since 2001 as a news reporter and arts correspondent before joining the books desk in 2009. She was a judge for the Orwell Prize for books 2013, and the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014.

Marlon James: 'I don’t believe in PG violence’

The 2015 Booker Prize winner Marlon James has been dubbed the literary Quentin Tarantino. He opens up about writing to shock, growing up gay in Jamaica and why there’s no such thing as the Great American Novel

Long live Jackie Collins's feminist heroines; Week in Books

When Linda discovered her husband, David, was having an affair with a young actress, she didn’t stand by her man, or go lingerie-shopping in hope to win him back (this was the 1960s). She filed for divorce. The mistress got bored and David promptly ran back to Linda, only to find her with a new man – a Hollywood big cheese – who, in the parlance of this fiction, could keep it in his trousers. David hit the bottle. The women went on to greater things. The End.

The big book that's creating the big Booker stir; Week in Books

There are various points of contention in this year’s Man Booker shortlist – age (five out of six are aged between 28 and 46), America (four out of six live over there), anti-establishmentarianism (all the “revered” men and women of letters have been stripped out, bar Anne Tyler). But the biggest, most interesting, controversy surely comes in the choice of one book which has divided the critics – it seems – like no other.

Bookclubs and friends don't mix: Week in Books

Anne Hathaway’s book group has got off to a rocky start. Having thought it a good way to stay “in the friendship loop” with Emily Blunt and Jessica Chastain, she became unstuck when her friends couldn’t ‘loop’ in the time to read the book (but hopefully turned up to complain about life with a brand new copy of the book and some plonk anyway). As she explained to Glamour magazine: “I said, ‘Let’s all read this book!’ But I’m not working and they are, so it’s not going very well.”

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