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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Oscars 2014: And the award for playing it safe goes to... Hollywood

The Oscars can still ignite scorching rows about film and its role in shaping national conscience – but not in Hollywood

If Scotland votes yes, supporters of the union will find themselves citizens of a country that commands none of their loyalty

Ukraine is a country divided against itself. Watch out, Scotland

If Scotland votes yes, supporters of the union will find themselves citizens of a country that commands none of their loyalty

Neuland by Eshkol Nevo, book review: A new-age odyssey to a Latin Zion

Translated by Sondra Silverston

A Gurkha helps to place sandbags outside homes along the Thames in Staines yesterday

When manicured riverside suburbs turn into a dystopia

Along the Lower Thames this week, J G Ballard’s imagined drowned world has not arrived quite yet. It is not far off

On Leave by Daniel Anselme; trans. David Bellos, book review

Three soldiers come home for a ten-day leave from a savage and stupid overseas war that has robbed them of “the best years of their lives”. Far from welcoming them as heroes, or even trying to understand their pain, the oblivious citizenry indulges in “crude nationalist bluster” that sidesteps both the horror of the struggle and the anguish of those who fight and suffer it.

Microsoft’s new boss is a window on a better school system

Britain’s classroom disability persists: the 7 per cent of pupils educated privately account for 50 to 70 per cent of senior professionals from law to politics

Falling Out of Time by David Grossman: book review

In May 2012, at the International Writers’ Festival in Jerusalem, I heard David Grossman talk with spellbinding candour and tenderness about the family grief that lies behind this book. Part-narrative poem, part-Greek tragedy, part-uncanny folk-tale from the spirit-thronged world of Isaac Bashevis Singer, Falling Out of Time consists of an elegiac tapestry of voices. All belong to bereaved parents. Death has for each smashed the law that “a father should not outlive his child”. After years of mute agony “on the gallows of grief”, these lost souls - fathers and mothers alike - strive to frame the words that might lay their scandalous suffering to rest. Readers of the Bible will also remember another David, the distraught king: “Would I had died instead of you, O Absalom, my son, my son!”

Write or wrong? JK Rowling has cast doubt on her own plots

JK Rowling, Harry and Hermione: Harry Potter's neverending story

JK Rowling says she now regrets yoking Hermione Grainger to Ron Weasley. But should authors leave well alone once they’ve finished writing?

Thomas moved to New Quay to escape war-ravaged London, and to find the quiet he needed to develop his career

A pint with Dylan Thomas: Mark the centenary of the great poet's birth with a trip around the west coast of Wales that inspired him

'People say that Dylan Thomas spent a lot of time in pubs, but I think he spent a lot of time on paths." Less breathless than me, and more used to the gradient, the poet Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch is striding up a steep, narrow track that winds towards a panoramic hill-top vista. Below us lies the little port of New Quay in Ceredigion on the west coast of Wales.

Simon Russell Beale as Lear and Anna Maxwell Martin as Regan

The anguish of King Lear’s ‘despised old man’ is timeless

Genius has no need of demographic tables. Shakespeare would not have seen many examples of age-related dementia at a time when average life expectancy hardly reached 40

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Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week