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.
Boyd Tonkin: NGC Bocas Lit Fest is in keeping with Port of Spain's pedigree as a Caribbean writer's heaven
26 April 2014 12:00 AM
Every year, the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature travels to Stockholm to give an address that tells the world about the wellsprings of his or her art. Over the past two decades, one compact non-European city, seldom seen as a global metropolis of literature, has nonetheless loomed large in two separate speeches. To Derek Walcott (1992), it figured as "a writer's heaven", a tropical Athens where traditions blended in "a downtown babel … marginalised, polyglot", but still "a city ideal in its commercial and human proportions". For V S Naipaul (2001), it served as the place where he began to throw light on the "area of the darkness" that shrouded his origins, watching, recording and imagining: "The life of the street was open to me. It was an intense pleasure to observe from the verandah" the scenes that fed his breakthrough work.
19 April 2014 07:21 PM
Boyd Tonkin recalls a recent pilgrimage to the former home of Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Cartagena and marvels at a writer whose fantasies helped define a country and continent
17 April 2014 10:42 PM
11 April 2014 06:16 PM
The top brass overrate their own side and underrate the foe. They value conformity, reward yes‑men and block reformers. They reinforce failure
10 April 2014 05:39 PM
Set sail on a planet-spanning ocean of fiction, as the judges of the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize do every year, and the voyage doesn't simply take you to wondrous new shores of language and culture. It will revise and refresh your idea of what it means to excel as a world-class storyteller. Take this year's exhilarating shortlist.
Sleazy playground, money launderers’ paradise, all-round basket case: A dystopian vision of Britain under Ukip's Nigel Farage
04 April 2014 06:02 PM
Many people had at first cheered the departure of Lidl, Ikea and Ryanair...
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: Sarajevo, 28 June 1914 and the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand that started it all
03 April 2014 08:18 PM
How do you remember a war that destroyed four empires, killed 18 million people and left tens of millions of other lives irreparably broken? Today, as the world prepares to mark the centenary of a conflict that left no corner of the planet untouched, we begin a unique daily series that attempts to make sense of an incomprehensibly huge chapter in human history by distilling it to a mere 100 'moments': episodes, big or small, that in one way or another capture a sense of what it was like to be caught up in the catastrophe of the First World War. Boyd Tonkin introduces our first moment
03 April 2014 04:00 PM
On a trip to Korea in 2011, I came away from Paju Book City with a tiny but precious memento. It was a slug of lead inscribed with a Korean character from a hot-metal print shop that still crafts fine editions in this hi-tech publishing hub north of Seoul. Here, the arts of the book yoke past and present in a long, unbroken line. The world's oldest surviving woodblock print comes from Korea (before 751AD); as does the oldest book with metal moveable type (1377). When Korean literature takes centre-stage at next week's London Book Fair, a distinguished elder will be visiting an upstart relative.
02 April 2014 10:30 PM
The new German fantasy novel imagines the Führer returning to Berlin as the star of an alternative comedy show
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Portuguese academic says British are 'filthy, violent and drunk'
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
- 1 Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
- 2 Scottish independence: Learn from Quebec's mistakes and beware of promises. Vote Yes.
- 3 'Necrophilia-obsessed' girl among double murder accused in three-way sex case
- 4 A bottle of wine a day is not bad for you and abstaining is worse than drinking, scientist claims
- 5 Revealed after 75 years of secrecy: 'Fifi' the glamorous WW2 special agent who tested British spies' resolve