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 is currently a judge of the Fiction Uncovered Prize 2014, and the Independent Scholastic New Children's Prize 2014.

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Book review: Grimm Tales for Young and Old, By Philip Pullman

The Kinder- und Hausmärchen have been, Pullman reminds us, a staple for Western readers for the past two centuries.

Last night's viewing - My Hero: Ben Miller on Tony Hancock BBC1

It was the smaller corners of this tribute to a comic genius that made My Hero: Ben Miller on Tony Hancock worth watching. We already knew the larger story, of Hancock's dry, doleful wit, of his radio and TV success, his thwarted ambition to be a serious actor and, later, film failures, and of his drinking and untimely death from an overdose at the age of 44. What was more interesting, beyond Miller's gushing praise of the comedian, were the small, surprising things that he discovered as he spoke to those who had worked with Hancock.

Lunar love: Mirando Otto and Gloria Pires in 'Reaching for the Moon'

The firebrand film-makers out to provoke and engage

Gramado's 41st Film Festival was host to more controversy than Brazil has seen on screen for years. Arifa Akbar reports

Dr George McGavin among the swarms of Red Crabs on Christmas Island.

TV review - Ultimate Swarms (BBC1) is bee good, shame about the soundtrack

"Swarms are extremely powerful," the zoologist George McGavin told us in Ultimate Swarms. They can be deadly too, he continued: "By joining together, even the simplest creatures can achieve the impossible." Yeah, we know that, George, we've seen Hitchcock's The Birds, and some of us still remember that naff crop of films about insect invasion that were the equivalent of zombie movies in the late 1970s – swarms of bees, ants and spiders working with a cunning collective intelligence to overwhelm mankind.

The Weekend’s Viewing: British detective dramas come and go, but few are as creepily compelling as What Remains

What Remains, Sun, BBC1/ America’s Stoned Kids, Sat, BBC2

Book review: The Orchard of Lost Souls, By Nadifa Mohamed

From Somaliland's bitter past blooms a moving and mature novel of conflict and survival

The Muppets make anything funny, even celebrity stunts

TV review: For those of us who remember Kermit and the gang, That Puppet Game Show was very confusing indeed

That Puppet Game Show, Sat, BBC1 // The Hairy Bikers’ Restoration Road Trip, Sun, BBC2

Book review: Once Upon a Time There Was a Traveller Edited by Kate Pullinger

These "Asham award-winning stories" by women are themed around travel.

Book review: The Road to Urbino, By Roma Tearne

These "Asham award-winning stories" by women are themed around travel.

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New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
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Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
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From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
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Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
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Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
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Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
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Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
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‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week