An Excerpt from Distance Sickness
The Patchwork Dolls
‘The last few years, everybody wanted the same eyes: domed like lemons, with precise, symmetrical lashes.’
A story by Ysabelle Cheung.
How To Milk
‘The milking technology for cows is in many ways superior to the one for humans.’
An essay from Emily Ogden’s On Not Knowing.
An Excerpt from Distance Sickness
‘To relive is the snarl of description, worked over repeatedly in the mind’
A poem by Jenny Xie.
Black and Female
‘By the time I was in my teens, I had taken up an existence framed by a double negative: not male, not white.’
An excerpt from Tsitsi Dangarembga’s essay collection, Black and Female.
Words in the Head and Words in the Sentence
‘During an interrogation speech glows hot in the mouth, and what is spoken freezes.’
Herta Müller on language. Translated from the German by Philip Boehm.
‘Our theme of conflict is internal as well as external.’
The editor introduces the issue.
Letters from Ukraine
‘As every soldier and every journalist who has ever covered a war knows – sleeping and eating are the most important things.’
Lindsey Hilsum writes home from Ukraine.
I Am the Word for God and Boy
‘We are sitting in a cafe, on planet Earth, on the night before our wedding day.’
Fiction by Aidan Cottrell-Boyce.
‘The recipe is a text that can produce spattering because it was spattering before it was language.’
Rebecca May Johnson on recipes, repetition and intimacy.
‘The Czech word skromnost means “modesty”, but it also carries a mild sense of forelock-tugging humbleness, of knowing one’s place.’
An excerpt from Janet Malcolm’s final book.
The Moving Target of Being
‘When I was in the hospital, the belief in “recovered memories” was at its peak.’
Suzanne Scanlon on the shifting parameters of illness.
A Place That Belongs to Us
‘The notes belong to you, said the guards, but the paper you wrote them on is ours.’
Fragmentary non-fiction by Daniel Trilling.
‘There sat the joy of the shopping centre, what I thought of as its secret heart. A white rabbit.’
A short story by Dizz Tate.
But the Heart in a Sense Is Far from Me Floating Out There
‘It’s right to extract bone from the afterlife’
A poem by Peter Gizzi.
‘While Fateha is fleeing westward with her children, another woman is trying to save herself from the city on the shore of the Sea of Azov.’
Memoir by Sana Valiulina, translated by Polly Gannon.
Signs of an Approaching War
‘We were ourselves migrating birds; in a sense, refugees, displaced persons, without a home or a home town.’
Volodymyr Rafeyenko on the war on Ukraine, translated by Sasha Dugdale.
Having Recently Escaped from the Maws of a Deathly Life, I Am Ready to Begin the Year Anew
‘Life is not worth living / without salami.’
A poem by Sandra Cisneros.
‘My mother is only seventy, but she has the bones of a ninety-year-old, the marrow like lace.’
A story by Jane Delury.
A Wolf in the Forest Wants
‘I biked to the hospital anyway, because it didn’t occur to me to think of an alternative form of transport.’
Sarah Moss on her admission to hospital.
‘Laurence’s busy pre-mourning himself and his lover; he knows their thing’s got an end date, it’s not far off now.’
A story by Kevin Lambert, translated from the French by Jeffrey Zuckerman.
‘From the sloth skin onwards, In Patagonia is built around scraps and surfaces.’
Louis Rogers on travelling in Bruce Chatwin’s footsteps.
Kirill Kobrin on living through war and the conflict in Ukraine. Translated from the Russian by Veronika Zitta.
It’s Been Evening all day Long
‘Just as blank I sink the bank beneath / my grief of never having money.’
A poem by Daniel Khalastchi.
‘Lying is something I had become good at with practice.’
An excerpt from All Down Darkness Wide.
‘She turned toward the voice and there he was, standing there, like Death.’
A short story by Rebecca Miller.
Notes on Craft
‘After a series of seizures in my temporal lobe, I started to forget words and say sentences backwards.’
Missouri Williams on the drive to circle back.
Scattered All Over the Earth
‘You don’t understand. The country where I used to live is now gone.’
and the earth drank deep
Ntsika Kota is the winner of the 2022 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa.