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.
02 July 2015 11:58 AM
Earlier this year, a terminally ill cancer patient requested a last visit to the Amsterdam Rijksmuseum to see a Rembrandt exhibition. A striking image accompanied the news story, of the patient on a gurney, surrounded by staff, face turned towards one of Rembrandt’s final self-portraits, the colour and shade in the photograph reflecting something of the light falling across Rembrandt’s aged face in the painting, and the edges of darkness converging behind him.
25 June 2015 10:50 AM
An online campaign that has taken social media by storm
25 June 2015 10:29 AM
Last week, I found myself on a privately owned Greek island with no shops, wi-fi, radio or television. Sprawled day after day on a swinging bed under a giant oak tree, I discovered that the book you take to such a remote place (a permanent population of three people, limited electricity, 2,500 olive trees, a yoga shala, some loud owls and a resident dog) is your connection to the less scenic world you’ve left behind.
06 June 2015 09:14 PM
There is no mention of Carrie in the book, but the plot rings bells
27 May 2015 06:39 PM
James Rhodes’s memoir arrives out of a maelstrom of pre-publication controversy: his ex-wife tried to stop Instrumental from being published; a court lifted an injunction last week and the pianist has justified his reasons for writing it. It might otherwise have been another celebrity memoir, although one that includes Rhodes’s child rape, self-harm, attempted suicide and bouts in locked wards for severe psychoses. All honestly, graphically, and eloquently described (minus rock’n’roll levels of swearing).
20 May 2015 04:45 PM
Outside regional hero worship, few non-academics have heard of Pakistan's national poet
14 May 2015 11:32 AM
The integrity of Charles Dickens is in question (again). This time, not over an illegitimate child with the mistress or the rapacious moneymaking, but over the claim that he stole key ideas for his first novel, The Pickwick Papers, from his illustrator, Robert Seymour, who committed suicide shortly after this alleged creative theft. Death and Mr Pickwick is a novel but its author, Stephen Jarvis, says he is writing “faction” – fact-based fiction – with evidence to bring Dickens’s character into question.
07 May 2015 11:43 AM
Tyler Durden – or Brad Pitt from Fight Club as he is more commonly known – is back, even before the much-anticipated graphic-novel sequel that is due later this year. Chuck Palahniuk has given Tyler a new lease of life in a book of short stories, Make Something Up, or so we are told. A warm-up for The Big Fight, you might call it. Read the story, “Expedition”, to know more, but beware the thumping disappointment that might – and often does – accompany the reincarnation of iconic or cultish characters such as the dark, doomy Durden.
29 April 2015 06:31 PM
There are three kinds of Muslims, according to Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s new book, Heretic. Yes, three kinds in a population of 1.6 billion followers of the faith who live in vastly different cultures around the globe. Firstly, she says, the fundamentalists who see Islamic edicts as eternal truths, set in the seventh century and unchangeable ever after. Hirsi Ali calls them “Medina Muslims”, who kill non-believers and blasphemers, often in horrendous medieval circumstances. We know this category well.
General Election 2015: Rushanara Ali's campaign to win Bethnal Green and Bow - and undo the work of Lutfur Rahman
24 April 2015 08:53 PM
Ali seems poised, in a post-Rahman Tower Hamlets, to heal the wounds that have left this community divided
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
- 1 Isis propaganda video shows 25 Syrian soldiers executed by teenage militants in Palmyra
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 Right to die: Belgian doctors rule depressed 24-year-old woman has right to end her life
- 4 The biggest first date turnoff has been revealed
- 5 German man found living with 300 rats in tiny apartment