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.
TV review: Blackout, Channel 4 - A bleak meditation on a modern disaster that doesn't quite hit the spot
10 September 2013 08:40 AM
"Please don't lose the plot, Britain." An illuminated face spoke from out of the darkness in Blackout, a dystopian drama told in faux-documentary style that imagined what would happen if the nation suffered a massive power failure following a suspected cyber-attack on the national grid. But, of course, Britain was going to lose the plot, because people always end up doing so in a drama of this kind. José Saramago's Blindness gave us the most masterful example of how quickly urban society melts into chaos, desperation and savage self-survival when one crucial civilising thing is taken away for an indefinite amount of time.
07 September 2013 12:23 PM
Muses have never had it easy. Stuck between the human and the transcedent for the (usually) male artists they inspire, and the object of intense envy, they cannot be too domestic nor put their own artistic ambitions first (Yoko Ono struggled with this while with John Lennon).
03 September 2013 11:48 AM
Jamie's Money Saving Meals, Channel 4
The Weekend’s Viewing: Simon Schama’s story was as much an investigation into identity as it was the beginning of a difficult history
01 September 2013 11:00 PM
The Story of the Jews, Sun, BBC2 // Rebuilding the World Trade Center, Sun, Channel 4
30 August 2013 07:00 PM
The Kinder- und Hausmärchen have been, Pullman reminds us, a staple for Western readers for the past two centuries.
28 August 2013 12:00 AM
Gramado's 41st Film Festival was host to more controversy than Brazil has seen on screen for years. Arifa Akbar reports
28 August 2013 12:00 AM
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.
27 August 2013 08:49 AM
"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
25 August 2013 10:00 PM
What Remains, Sun, BBC1/ America’s Stoned Kids, Sat, BBC2
16 August 2013 07:00 PM
From Somaliland's bitter past blooms a moving and mature novel of conflict and survival
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Land for gas: Merkel and Putin discussed secret deal could end Ukraine crisis
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
- 1 Russell Brand accuses FOX News anchor Sean Hannity of terrorism after aggressive Israel-Gaza debate
- 2 Pope Francis issues top 10 tips for happiness – including don’t try to convert other people
- 3 Arturo Vidal to Manchester United: Midfielder set to force through move to Louis van Gaal's Red Devils - reports
- 4 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 5 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
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