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: Ramayana: A Retelling, By Daljit Nagra

For all the slang and swagger, this bold new version of the Hindu epic keeps its moral core intact

Billy Zane created artworks using locally sourced materials while filming Titanic

Arts observations: Billy Zane turns to action painting

And in defence of 'virtuous' women

Book review: Granta 125: After the War, Edited by John Freeman

This collection does not deal with fresh scars but the unfading memories that, decades later, are still seared into a landscape, and a soul.

The great Bridget Jones/David Jason mash-up

Leave it out, Rodney! Actually, next time why not leave it in?

Book review: How Music Works, By David Byrne

"Everything started with sound", Byrne reminds us. "In the beginning was the Word."

Digging deep: 'The Wasp Factory' at the Linbury Studio

The Wasp Factory: An opera with murder in its heart and a sting in its tale

Iain Banks' cult novel is the unlikely source for a new show at Covent Garden

Nick MacKinnon at the Forward Prizes for Poetry Awards in London’s Southbank Centre

Sexually charged poem about learning metric wins Forward Prize

Former maths teacher’s recollection of an unorthodox lesson was a ‘delight’ for judges

Broken art: curator Susan Harrison with smashed sculptures from Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire

A history of violence that's set to make a smash hit

As the Tate opens a show of vandalised art, Arifa Akbar visits the secret lock-up that is home to the nation's damaged masterpieces

Book review: My First Wife, By Jakob Wassermann

Herzog, a young writer, is struggling to fend off poverty when Ganna Mevis, the youngest of six daughters in a well-heeled family, begins her pursuit of him, groupie-like and ardent.

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Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
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