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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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.

Cultural blend: ‘Million’s Poet’

The supersized cultural life of Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi's talent shows and art exhibitions may be inspired by the West, but the cash-rich capital's culture has a distinctly eastern flavour. Boyd Tonkin reports
Visionary? Thomas Piketty’s thesis, that the West is in the midst of a new Gilded Age of inequality, has divided the US

Critics of capitalism only serve to reinforce it

Since around 1980, the  English-speaking liberal-left has become accustomed to winning intellectual battles at the same time as it loses the political wars

Flight of fancy: the semi-fictionalised film ‘The Wind Rises’ has a visionary intensity

Filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki captures dying machines from war in new film

In telling the story of the man behind Japan's finest fighter planes, anime master Miyazaki's swansong captures the paradoxical artistry that creates the tools of war

Peter Mayhew as Chewbacca alongside Harrison Ford's Han Solo in 'Star Wars'

Star Wars is the closest thing we have to Homer

Vast dynastic conflicts and reflections on good and evil, has George Lucas been studying the Iliad?

Boyd Tonkin: NGC Bocas Lit Fest is in keeping with Port of Spain's pedigree as a Caribbean writer's heaven

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.

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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game