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.

i Newspaper
 
TheIPaper
The Independent around the web
'The Story of the Lost Child' by Elena Ferrante

Let authors take the quiet road; Week in Books

Elena Ferrante is due to publish the fourth, and last, of her  cult “Neapolitan” novels next month. The Story of the Lost Child’s publication is a big event for her legion of readers in Italy and around the world.

There's not much inspiration when genre meets genocide: Week in Books

The furore around a book of “inspirational” (America’s synonym for Christian) fiction featuring a romance between Aric von Schmidt, a Nazi commandant and a half-Jewish woman, Hadassah Benjamin, is no surprise. This is a story in which the happy-ever-after is bound up with New Testament salvation and Hadassah’s Damascene conversion to Christianity. It also reworks Holocaust history so that Jews bound for Auschwitz divert their train to freedom (with the help of Aric, and play out their escape with a bravura reminiscent of The Great Escape).

Submission by Michel Houellebecq; trans. Lorin Stein, book review: Fear and self-loathing in the fifth republic

In a surprise move, France's foremost social satirist takes aim – not at Muslims but at benighted, modern-day France

'Striped Pyjamas' author looks to home in dark tales of abuse: Week in Book column

It is curious how short stories by Irish writers exude such a strong sense of place, and identity, even when there is a concerted attempt to escape Ireland, from James Joyce’s Dubliners to Edna O’Brien’s collections which emanate the nostalgia of self-imposed exile.

Reflected glory: author Haruki Murakami

Hear The Wing Sing & Pinball 1973 by Haruki Murakami; trans. Ted Goossen; appetisers from the kitchen table

Until now, we have not been able to read Haruki Murakami’s first two novels in English despite their popular success in Japanese. It is his third novel, A Wild Sheep Chase, translated in 1990, and the last in his “Rat” trilogy, that English readers have taken as his first, and that he himself considers “the true beginning of my career as a novelist.” In fact, he has resisted English translations of Hear the Wind Sing (1979) and Pinball 1973 (1980) for decades, except for a ‘student study aid’ translation in Japan that has long been out of print, and in the face of fans frequently writing to his UK publisher with their pleas.

Yoga on the shala

Yoga retreat in Greece: Silence is golden on Silver Island

Once a jet-set private playground, Argironisos now welcomes a rather different clientele. Arifa Akbar limbers up among its devotees

Kayak sunrise

Silence is golden on Silver Island

Once a jet-set private playground, Argironisos now welcomes a rather different clientele

An American family reading a newspaper circa 1950
The manuscript of Harper Lee’s novel was found by her lawyer in 2014

Go Set A Watchman - book review: A rough draft, but more radical and politicised than Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird

We will never be able to read Mockingbird in the same way again, and never see Atticus in the same light. It is the end of innocence for that novel

Michel Faber, London

Poetry of a grieving husband after death did them part: Week in Books column

A little blue book was left on my desk a few weeks ago. More a pamphlet than a book, with a paper cover bound by string. It looked like a catalogue or a theatre programme. I pushed it to one side of the desk, just above the bin, and it sat there until it was time for a clear-out, when I picked it up again and saw it was in fact a chapbook by Michel Faber called Poems for Eva, with a pink post-it note on top saying ‘These turned out well. F x’.

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent