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, and is currently judging the Aesthetica Magazine new writing prize.

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Book review: Queenie, By Alice Munro

This single short story publication may be a clever way to cash in on Munro's recent elevation to Nobel Prize winner, but that should not count against its remarkable effect.

Book review: Report from the Interior, By Paul Auster

A memoir that takes the reader on an inward journey, but arrives at a familiar destination

Book review: Artful, By Ali Smith

A delightfully tricksy comparative literature lecture-turned-book, this does the seemingly impossible by blending erudite literary and artistic discourse with the most grippingly mournful fiction.

Book review: Dolly, By Susan Hill

Its starts with a wind swept across the fens, an inexplicable rustle and the hint of creepy foreboding that is the signature starting point of Hill's ghostly stories.

Book review: A Little History of the World, By EH Gombrich

"My grandfather, Ernst Gombrich, is best known as an art historian", writers Leonie Gombrich in this gem of a book, which came before his better-known The Story of Art.

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."

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Day In a Page

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
Homeless Veterans appeal: Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served

Homeless Veterans appeal

Former soldiers pay their respects to a friend who also served
Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

Scarred by the bell

The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
The Locked Room Mysteries: As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor Otto Penzler explains the rules of engagement

The Locked Room Mysteries

As a new collection of the genre’s best is published, its editor explains the rules of engagement
Amy Adams on playing painter Margaret Keane in Tim Burton's Big Eyes

How I made myself Keane

Amy Adams hadn’t wanted to take the role of artist Margaret Keane, because she’d had enough of playing victims. But then she had a daughter, and saw the painter in a new light
Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

Parting view of Ofcom chief... we hate jokes on the disabled

Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog, Ed Richards
A look back at fashion in 2014: Wear in review

Wear in review

A look back at fashion in 2014
Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015. Might just one of them happen?

Ian Herbert: My 10 hopes for sport in 2015

Might just one of them happen?
War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?