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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Take a peek at the Bayeux Tapestry (tapisseriebayeux.fr), marking the Norman conquest of England

What happened to America's invasion of Man Booker? Arifa Akbar, Week in Books

So the American’s aren’t coming, despite the column inches of worry that they would descend like a Viking horde and commandeer our prize after Man Booker opened its doors to international writers (beyond its Commonwealth scope). Well, four are coming, I suppose: Siri Hustvedt, Karen Joy Fowler, Joshua Ferris, Richard Powers. Or four and a half  if you count Joseph O’Neill (who is Irish/American).

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What's the meaning of 'chick-noir'? Week in Books

Next week, a literary salon will discuss the rise of the domestic thriller. Lucie Whitehouse, the novelist and one of three speakers at Bloomsbury’s event, has already called the genre by its other – not altogether uncontentious – name. “I’d define ‘chick noir’ as psychological thrillers that explore the fears and anxieties experienced by many women. They deal in the dark side of relationships, intimate danger, the idea that you can never really know your husband or partner...”

Having a press of one's own: Virginia Woolf's publishing preoccupations were our own

There are two rooms in the National Portrait Gallery’s Virginia Woolf exhibition which show, under glass, the beautifully designed covers of the books that Woolf published after she set up her own press with her husband, Leonard Woolf.

Undercurrents: Koch's is a dark tale of a summer holiday, gone wrong

Summer House with Swimming Pool by Herman Koch; trans. Sam Garrett, book review

Herman Koch's second book to be translated from his native Dutch has all the distinctive features of his first, the international bestseller, The Dinner. There is a narrator who whispers warped thoughts into your ear. There is the black humour and dangerous fantasy that might erupt into the real world at any moment. And there is the hissing satire that mocks bourgeois values and threatens a sudden, alarming loss of etiquette.

Kevin Brooks’s 'The Bunker Diary'

How Grimm should teen fiction get?

It was sad to hear how long it had taken young adult (YA) fiction author Kevin Brooks to publish The Bunker Diary, as he collected the Carnegie Medal for it. Or why it had taken so long, I should say. Ten years, he revealed, because no publisher would touch a YA book whose themes – kidnapping, illness, torture and drug addiction – didn’t offer enough “hope”.

Arifa Akbar: Books help inmates to turn the page

The Week in Books
Wyld: 'a prose style worthy of our very best writers'

Uncovering talent: the prize that rewards not just one, but eight, British novelists: Arifa Akbar, Week in Books

What do we make of a literary prize that picks eight winners? And one that rewards those not setting the world alight with their debuts nor those whom Alan Yentob might dedicate an Imagine series to, but writers who are on their second, third, maybe even 10th novel, quietly getting on with the next one?

Sebastian Faulks: 'I've hated all this Scando-porn serial killer stuff'

Faulks' War: it's still an ongoing battle; Arifa Akbar, Week in Books

When Sebastian Faulks first published Birdsong, it was met with a muted reception. The year was 1993 and it was not exactly fashionable to be writing about the things that the novel describes so viscerally: the battle of the Somme, the terror of the trenches, the claustrophobic terror of the tunnels beneath those trenches, and the assault on the souls and spirits of the men who saw wave after wave of slaughter on the battlefields of the Great War.

A bookshop is more than its discounts; Arifa Akbar, week in books

If buildings had souls or bore the imprint of everyone who had ever inhabited them, the new home for Foyles would be bursting with spectral rebels, creatives and a few anarchists, too.

Arifa Akbar: Never mind Michael Gove, I'd ban Of Mice and Men and other over-used set texts

The Americans can't know if they're coming or going in our Brave New Ukip-enhanced World. First that gatekeeper of Commonwealth literary tradition, the Man Booker prize, opens its borders to the Americans, to a hail of doomy predictions on how British fiction will be over-run by any number of gum-chewing Yankie doodle dandies with a Creative Writing MFA in their back pockets.

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