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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Down and out, Wayne Rooney slumps to the ground after England's 2-1 defeat to Uruguay

The winner may take all, but sportsmanship and the plucky loser are still to be celebrated

The art of losing is chronically overlooked, but there is much to learn from it

Hacking trial: The Establishment is dead. Long live the Establishment

Perhaps we should broaden our view of institutional power and those who wield it

The outlook's Rosie: Laurie Lee in Slad, a landscape 'farmed and fenced by literature'

Laurie Lee: As I walked out one Midsummer morning

A century ago tomorrow saw the birth of Laurie Lee, whose most famous work, Cider with Rosie, immortalised the countryside of his youth. Boyd Tonkin strolls through the Slad Valley to see what remains of its celebrated past
Slanted contribution to the debate: Gordon Brown, at the Scottish Labour launch to keep Scotland as part of the UK, May 2013

The art of political storytelling isn't lost on the Scots

The Yes camp has had the stronger story to recount: richer in history, deeper in feeling, grounded in a politics of progress rather than dread

The Mighty Dead: Why Homer Matters by Adam Nicolson; The Last Days of Troy by Simon Armitage, book reviews

A journey by land and sea extols the perennial power of the greatest epic poems
Past life: Tristram Hunt, the shadow Education Secretary, and author of ‘Ten Cities that Made an Empire’

Write honourable members: The 2010 class of MPs

The 2010 House of Commons intake includes a surprising number of practising historians. Are they in danger of giving politicians a good name, asks Boyd Tonkin

Javier Cercas interview: Picking over the wounds of Spain’s recent past

Boyd Tonkin meets him as King Juan Carlos gave the tale a new twist

British Prime Minister Prime Minister David Cameron (L) and Mayor of London Boris Johnson wait for a train at Newark station in central England, following a visit to the town were they campaigned ahead of the Newark by-election

Court and country do battle in Newark

Just as much as the walls of Newark Castle, the Polish war graves belong at the heart of English, and British, heritage

Computer generated image showing brain activity

The Longitude Prize gives us a new hero

The Longitude Prize is a great way to find a new John Harrison. But why stop at that?

Iraq's 'Irvine Welsh' wins the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for The Iraqi Christ

The Independent Foreign Fiction Prize has its first Arabic winner. And what a winner: Hassan Blasim’s The Iraqi Christ, translated by Jonathan Wright, is a collection of 14 short stories set largely in the blood-stained and hope-drained aftermath of the 2003 invasion and occupation.

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Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'