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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The power of anonymity lies in the freedom it grants

Reclusive artists such as Banksy and Haruki Murakami teach us the special value of being left alone

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 

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Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas