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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Sleazy playground, money launderers’ paradise, all-round basket case: A dystopian vision of Britain under Ukip's Nigel Farage

Many people had at first cheered the departure of Lidl, Ikea and Ryanair...

Supporting troops of the 1st Australian Division walking on a duckboard track near Hooge, in the Ypres Sector

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

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

Korean fiction: Stories that weave history with myth

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.

Author Timur Vermes with his new novel

Timur Vermes's Look Who's Back: Is it ever safe to laugh at Hitler?

The new German fantasy novel imagines the Führer returning to Berlin as the star of an alternative comedy show

Anya Lipska: A tortured past brought to life in crime fiction

Poland’s writers are challenging Nordic noir in the skullduggery stakes

How can civilisation be defined for the 21st century?

It would be tempting to brand Kenneth Clark’s 13-part documentary as the last gasp of an expiring ‘Eurocentric’ canon of culture

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Big data is the future – but will it helps us to see the future?

The annuity business in particular has become a blatant rip-off: call it twilight robbery

Boyhood Island: My Struggle 3 by Karl Ove Knausgaard, trans. Don Bartlett, book review

Symbolic power of near-adolescence infuses this third autobiographical novel

You don't have to be poor to go to Poundland

The proletarianisation of many professions means the abyss lurks not far beneath even fashionable feet

Did Bob Crow ever get the credit he deserved?

Bob Crow death: A modern union man who still fought for powerless

British politics – in fact, British society – suffers acutely from Downton Abbey syndrome. Diverting and dramatic, the theatre (or pantomime) of local class struggle so absorbs us that the fast-changing reality behind the scenes passes almost unnoticed. Forget everything you have read and heard about the late Bob Crow as an old-school union boss, a rare survivor from a vanished age – either a doughty champion of working-class interests or a stubborn, disruptive dinosaur.

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Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

Ed Balls interview

'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
He's behind you, dude!

US stars in UK panto

From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
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