Boyd Tonkin

Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer and a columnist at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Literary Editor at The Independent, and before that Social Policy Editor and then Books Editor at the New Statesman magazine. He has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes and has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize. In 2001, he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, and serves on its judging panel every year.

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Football needs its Martin Luther moment, and soon

In England, traditional football was no more perfect than the Early Church idealised by the Protestant forefather

Rosetta's lander Philae is safely on the surface of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko

Like all good space films, ‘Rosetta’ has us hooked

Annually, the agency’s operations cost “about the same as the price of a cinema ticket” for each citizen of the 20 participating nations

Visitors view the

Tower of London poppies: Yes, we remember. But we also choose to forget

We identify with all the innocents who died – and them alone

Three segments of the Berlin Wall and a figure of a bear, symbolic of Berlin, in Seoul

Back to a time before the fall: German fiction

A mere quarter-century ago, the Berlin Wall opened. Soon after, the Soviet empire fell. Yet much of that cataclysmic history has already faded into kitsch and platitude. Happily, literature can resurrect a reality beyond the scope of official commemorations. Three novels from authors who grew up in the lost world of East Germany - all brought to us in outstanding translations - anchor that obliterated landscape to intimate memories, beliefs and emotions. Fiction can dig the tunnel that takes us under the Wall and back through time.

Politicians’ actions speak louder then words on a 'feminist' T-shirt

But who now cares if you walk the walk, so long as you talk the talk?

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

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Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent