Boyd Tonkin studied English and French literature at Cambridge University. He taught literature in higher and adult education before becoming an award-winning magazine journalist. Already a freelance writer and interviewer for The Observer, he became social policy editor of the New Statesman, and then Literary Editor, before moving to The Independent as Literary Editor. In 2013 he became a Senior Writer at The Independent. He has reported on literary and artistic issues from more than 30 countries on five continents, and his cultural essays have been published widely in books and journals. In addition to judging the leading British award for literature in translation, the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize, since 2001, he has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize, the David Cohen Prize and (in 2010) the Prix Cevennes in France. He is a member of the Council of the Orwell Prize and the Academy of the Folio Prize, and has spoken at literary festivals, seminars and conferences around the world.