Political advisor,  business consultant and intellectual Hakim El Karoui: In July, he drafted an open letter published by the Journal du Dimanche. “We who are French and Muslim are ready to assume our responsibilities,” it began. The text was signed by 41 Muslim academics, business people, scientists and cultural figures, and was widely noted by media and politicians. Photograph:  Matthieu alexandre/AFP/Getty Images

Hakim El Karoui was not predisposed to become a spokesman for the silent majority of French Muslims. “I never played the role of the minority kid from(...)

Chinua Achebe: balances the richness of African folklore and native speech with the sterile politicking inherited from outsiders, who ruled, influenced, then left, leaving their mess behind. Photograph: Jerry Bauer

Music and dance, songs full of stories and life, the celebration of Africa Day is exactly that; a celebration of cultures and traditions that span (...)

Declan Meade, editor of The Stinging Fly literary magazine, at its office on St Andrew’s Street, Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Every reader of international fiction will know the feeling. It descends like a mist: mysterious, slightly annoying but enticing. It’s the hunger that(...)