Arifa Akbar

theatre critic The Guardian

Arifa Akbar is arts editor at Tortoise Media and theatre critic for The Guardian. She is the former literary editor of The Independent, where she worked from 2001 to 2016 as a news reporter and arts correspondent before joining the books desk. She has served as Head of Content for the crowd-funding publisher, Unbound, where she launched and edited the long-form literary website, Boundless, in 2017. She has contributed to the Observer, the Financial Times, the Daily Mail and appeared on Sky News as a newspaper reviewer.

In April 2018, she curated a Muslim literary festival at the British Library, in London, called M-Fest. She is currently a trustee of the Orwell Foundation and co-administrators the annual Orwell Prize for Political Writing. She sits on the advisory board for English PEN's writers in translation committee and was in the advisory group for the Cheltenham Literature Festival in 2017-18. She has moderated panels at literary festivals across the UK and judged prizes including the Orwell Prize for Books 2013, Costa Biography Award 2017, UK Theatre Awards 2018 and the Wingate Literary Prize 2019 ; she is currently judging the Women's Prize for Fiction 2019.

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Events IJF 2019

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