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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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

Two novellas: In the Sanatorium, and Facing the Sea by David Vogel; trans. Philip Simpson & Daniel Silverstone, book review

In an alpine clinic for Jewish TB sufferers, a gauche young businessman thinks himself "outside the whole world and tarnishing it". Parasitic lung patients such as himself, so Ornik wails, "should be destroyed".

Bavaria's rights over Hitler's Mein Kampf end in 2015

Adolf Hitler's ‘Mein Kampf’ is the story of more than one struggle

Churchill thought the book demanded vigilant attention. He is still correct

The Last Word by Hanif Kureishi, book review: Kureishi's novel reflects Keats's claim that a man's life is a continual allegory

A contrarian and a curmudgeon, both visionary artist and tantrum-prone elderly brat, the Indian-born but Somerset-settled writer Mamoon Azam strikes his callow biographer on occasions as "more Johnny Rotten than Joseph Conrad".

Look to melancholy, not psychosis, for the real source of British comedy

Look to melancholy, not psychosis, for the real source of British comedy

In order to get closer to the real affinity between joking and moping, it might be wise to abandon the diagnostic categories beloved of psychiatrists

The role of race in the life and literature of Alexandre Dumas: The episode that inspired the man behind the Musketeers

A new adaptation of Dumas' classic tale is set to screen on the BBC

No Man's Land: Writings from a World at War, Edited by Pete Ayrton: Book review - moved by the master storytellers from the front line

How Michael Gove would hate this trail-blazing book. Not just another Great War anthology, Pete Ayrton's selection gathers 47 authors from 20 of the countries that fought the first genuinely global conflict. He chooses only prose testaments – fiction, memoirs and, notably, that hybrid forerunner of the "new journalism" moulded by these writers' genre-busting ordeals.

Review: 'The Lie' by Helen Dunmore

A Great War novel that traverses themes of delayed trauma and survivor guilt

How man and nature did battle on Chesil Beach

Recent storms have dredged up debris from usually clear waters

Dragon’s tail: the Aberystwyth Promenade

Dylan Thomas: When weather howls

The storms lashing the Welsh Coast have brought to life the most savage verse and prose of Dylan Thomas. On the trail of the great poet, Boyd Tonkin finds himself swept away

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Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
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