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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Terrible revenge: Soprano Nina Stemme in Strauss's Salome in Spain in 2010

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects. Boyd Tonkin examines her lasting allure
Ian McEwan would send 'The Grass Arena' by John Healy

Ian McEwan, The Children Act, book review: A thrillingly grown up read

British culture has lately taken not so much a child-like but a puerile turn in its reflex demonisation of all figures of authority. High-profile cases of corruption and malpractice have not only aroused righteous anger. They have licensed a petulant, even infantile, refusal to engage with the exercise of power for good as well as ill.

One calculation suggests that Isis has recruited more British Muslims than the 600 or so who serve in the British Armed Forces

Jihadi John and his fellow Isis fighters from the UK are flippant, fanatical... and distinctly British

Street-smart attitudes and sarky takedowns have somehow fused with the grimmest tenets of sectarian doctrine

Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett - it's a journey worth making to the Happy Days Festival, Week in Books column

Site-specific art can sometimes be a waste of time and breath: a journey to nowhere. One of the revelations at this year's Happy Days festival, devoted to Samuel Beckett and held in and around Enniskillen in County Fermanagh (where he went to boarding school from 1920 to 1923), was the inspired choice of locations.

Ghost writer: Robert Aickman pictured in 1960

Robert Aickman's cult horror books are being resurrected for the centenary of his birth

Aickman wandered through the 1960s fantasy publishing scene like an elegant, if quarrelsome, revenant. Boyd Tonkin on an author whose life was as unconventional as his characters
Imagine...

Imagine... it’s 2014 and the drums of war are beating again

We don't know what World War Three might look like, but here's my calculated guess...

Cults and loners: Murakami never stops warning his fans against the sham of charisma and the peril of conformity

Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki - book review

Murakami returns with a harmonious blend of naivety and riddling sophistication

If Hadza nomads get by on 14 hours’ work a week, why can’t we?

You should cherish your hours of idleness even more keenly than usual this summer. For the work fetishists are on the warpath 

Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria

Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Writers George Orwell, Laurie Lee and John Cornford - along with 2,300 other British volunteers - took up arms in the Spanish Civil War. But Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has since made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"

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Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone