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.

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2013 - the year in review: The best books of the year

"The Hired Man" by Aminatta Forna (Bloomsbury)

Arifa Akbar: Let’s ban the latecomers from dramatic readings

"A light appeared deep inside the audience, beaming like a gig-lamp in the hands of a woman below me. It was a Blackberry"

Arifa Akbar's Week in Books: The joy of letters, from chatty to catty, in old and new forms

The form has changed but the impulses remain the same. The quickening of the heart can lie in an inbox too

The Sky Wept Fire: My Life as a Chechen Freedom Fighter by Mikail Eldin, trans by Anna Gunin - book review

Rebel with a cause powerfully portrays the horrors of war

Arifa Akbar: Forget the gruelling films, just read the brilliant books

There are times when the film-of-the-book leads us back to the original text, either to re-live the story or to compare the merits of one medium to the other. Then there are times when a film adaptation is so profoundly dissatisfying that it demands recourse to the book.

A Cat, a Hat and a Piece of String, By Joanne Harris: Book review

Post Chocolat, Harris became known as the novelist who deftly wove food into fiction, but many in this generic medley of short stories are food free.

Books of the year 2013: Celebrity

Rejoice! it was the year that a Pakistani teenager who stood up to the Taliban became a celebrity, and one with a real story to tell. What a breath of fresh air in a genre crowded out by middle-aged TV personalities. Malala Yousafzai invigorated the "all about me" genre with I Am Malala (Orion, £18.99, with Christina Lamb), a tale of immense courage and conviction which begins as she is shot for campaigning for the rights of girls to an education ("My friends later told me the gunman's hand was shaking as he fired"). The memoir rewinds to early life in the Swat valley; people commiserated the birth of a girl when Malala was born. Being Pushtun and female got tougher when the Taliban arrived. She was 10 by that time and busy reading the Twilight novels.

Paperback review: At the Time of Partition, By Moniza Alvi

Alvi, a former TS Eliot and Whitbread poetry prizes shortlistee, takes a historical journey as the structure for this narrative poem.

Review: The Ring + The Opposite of Death, By Roberto Saviano (trs Abigail Asher)

A powerful and poetic volume of ‘fictional reportage’ on the infamous Camorra

The Week in Books: Femen exposed, the £30,000 'one-star' Jeff Bezos book and a digital map for bookstores

Would any one feminist text make the same waves today as Germaine Greer's or Betty Friedan's?

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