Boyd Tonkin

Boyd Tonkin is Literary Editor at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Social Policy Editor of the New Statesman and has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes. He has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize for a lifetime's achievement in literature.

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Police from both sides stand idly by as the Berlin Wall is breached for the first time between East and West, at the Sandkrug Bridge crossing-point on Invaliden Strasse, in November 1989

Fall of the Berlin Wall: 25 years on, we remember the day the world fell apart

Twenty-five years ago next month, the man-made geographical feature that had defined post-war Europe vanished with dizzying abruptness. Introducing a week-long celebration of a still barely credible political earthquake, Boyd Tonkin reports from Berlin

If Renee Zellweger wants to look different, who are we to question it?

The human face is a mystery we try to unravel at our peril

Vivid Faces by RF Foster - book review: First-class account of when Ireland went to war

The Easter Rising of 1916 began in Dublin’s General Post Office. No wonder, perhaps, given that so many of the insurgents had pursued civil-service careers in what Roy Foster calls “the imperial structure of the Royal Mail”. Even Richard Mulcahy – later IRA Chief of Staff and Defence Minister of the Irish Free State – had worked as a postal clerk. Where better than the GPO to sign, seal and deliver Ireland’s liberation?

Staff of the 'Doctors without Borders' ('Medecin sans frontieres') medical aid organisation carry the body of a person killed

Medicine is no match for centuries of fear of the foreign plague

The sudden reversal of policy, which now favours interrogation of West African arrivals, owes more to Dracula-at-Whitby fears than to solid proof

French writer Patrick Modiano is the author of almost 30 books since his debut novel in 1968

Nobel Prize: French novelist Patrick Modiano receives honour for Literature

When his editor Antoine Gallimard called to tell him the news, he replied 'how bizarre', according to Le Monde newspaper

a farmer harvesting cocaine leaves in la Machaca, Colombia

Stephen Fry is wrong about being the only person harmed by his cocaine habit — just look at Colombia

Cocaine-driven conflict in the country has cost 220,000 lives and displaced about 4.5m people from their homes

Koutoubia Minaret

The wonders of Moroccan literature

In Morocco and across the region, you can never disentangle this landscape of social insecurity and lopsided modernisation from other motifs that preoccupy Arab novelists

Deborah Mitford and the resilience of the aristocracy

The families that have withstood decline have also harnessed change. In its upper echelons at least, the British aristocracy has always known that it has to adapt or die

Let the battle for devolution commence

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

On the streets of Stirling, it was as if independence had already been won

Gwendolen: A Novel by Diana Souhami, book review: Daniel Deronda gets a surprising twist

Souhami puts George Eliot's headstrong heroine, "Gwendolen Harleth", back centre-stage
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Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain