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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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.

Book review: Almost English, By Charlotte Mendelson

This cross-cultural story about the pains of growing up amuses but does not convince

Book review: The Testament of Mary, By Colm Tóibín

Tóibín's fictive mothers have always been complex characters. Now comes Mary, the mother of Christ, in this novella based on the stage play, Testament.

Book review: Short Walks from Bogotá, By Tom Feiling

Colombian president Álvaro Uribe's statement that "this country has moved from terrorism to tourism" was partly what inspired Feiling on his walks, talking to former guerilla fighters and tribesmen among others, to unpick the cliched Colombia of drug cartels and FARC violence from the reality he sees.

Visceral why-dunit: Sean Harris in Southcliffe

TV review: Southcliffe might not be cheery, but this is rare and brilliant Sunday night viewing

Southcliffe, Sun, Channel 4 //  I Love My Country, Sat, BBC1

Ruby Wax will invite an audience of 150 people to sit on hay-bales

Oxfordshire festival invites you to live in the NOW

A festival intent on ridding us of the myriad modern-day distractions that stop us from embracing the fullness of the present moment will use unconventional artistic methods to cajole audiences into “mindfulness”.

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Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices