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Girl on Girl

Diane Cook

‘Marni on Mack. Mack in Marni. A little Mack and Marni. My head rushes. I want to watch, hear the sounds.’

The Indian Uprising

Ann Beattie

‘Then winter ended and spring came, and I thought, even if I don’t believe there’s a poem in anything any more, maybe I’ll write a story.’

The Mast Year

Diane Cook

‘Sounds like a mast year . . . it’s a thing that happens to trees. But sometimes it happens to people too.’

Self-Portrait

Martin Amis

‘You’ve got your catflap, I’ve got my guy.’

Hare in Love

Sam Coll

A wry, fanciful fable about how love can transform both nature and fate.

The Love Machine

Julia Elliott

‘Beatrice was my first love. The dark contours of her delicate skeleton, the glowing flesh made translucent by my X-ray gaze, drove me crazy.’

Ann Beattie | First Sentence

Ann Beattie

‘Several times I’ve wanted to title something one thing, but have realized or been persuaded it isn’t a good idea.’

When Did I Become a Writer?

Mia Couto

‘I am often asked when I became a writer, and I have taken to not rushing my answer.’

Thing with Feathers that Perches in the Soul

Anthony Doerr

‘It has to be love, doesn’t it? In however many of its infinite permutations?’

The Blood Drip

Brian Evenson

‘They had stumbled upon a town and tried to approach it, but had been driven off with stones.’

Maruti 800

Rana Dasgupta

‘Like a tiny old woman surrounded by strapping grandsons, the Maruti 800 was in fact the progenitor of all that new, muscular, vehicular variety.’

Hush . . . Hush Sweet Charlotte

Kazushige Abe

‘The crucial thing was to cool the baby off, bring the fever down.’

First Sentence: Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich

‘We live in these places out of necessity, lucky to have them out of the terrible explosion of humanity.’

My Avant-Garde Education

Bernard Cooper

‘My response to art was quick, metabolic and revelatory, while my response to sex was a muddle of delayed reactions and missed libidinal signals.’

Sand

John Biguenet

‘The catastrophe had not happened to all of us, we began to understand, but to each of us.’

Birdie

Ann DeWitt

‘By the end of the summer, the city was fed up with our antics.’

Apparition

Mark Doty

‘an orange plastic basket of compost / down from the top of the garden – sweet dark, / fibrous rot, promising’

Demeter

Fiona Benson

‘I head down the path hoping she’ll come / but when I look back she’s gone and my own voice / snags at her name like barbed wire on skin.’

Printable

Toh EnJoe

‘Which is scarier: that the past could actually change or that you could just think it did?’

Toboggan Run

Fiona Benson

‘What would I give / to be one of those swimmers in all this snow, / swallowed by the cold and the night’s strange radiance?’

The More We Think About It

Michael Earl Craig

‘Yeah, something has slapped us. / We have definitely seen something.’

Off the Road

Andrew Brown

‘She acted as if her own desires magnetized the world, and when you were close to her, she magnetized your moral compass too.’

Quarter Past Midnight

Marie-Helene Bertino

‘Flute-like, gauze-filled, late-afternoon sunshine. Rainbow bracelets on the carpet. They use their tongues to wet their lips. Girls.’

Advice Column

Kazim Ali

‘Me always untorn and enslaved / Weird notions of gender and ground / Nothing but you between me and god.’

Spelling Problem

Lydia Davis

‘A woman from Barnard College calls me and asks if I would please spell ‘hemorrhaging’ for her.’

Picnic

Emily Berry

‘Watching the sea is like watching something in pieces continually striving to be whole / Imagine trying to pick up a piece of the sea and show it to a person / I tried to do that.’

The Case of the Missing Miss Vincent

Kevin Brockmeier

‘There is a sound to finishing a story like the first note of the 3.30 bell. Inside him a great crowd goes pouring into the daylight.’

Toh EnJoe | First Sentence

Toh EnJoe

‘I think that the thing called thought can be viewed as rooted in the very real phenomenon of neurons firing.’

Satanás

Olivia Clare

‘I dislike sleep, he told the girl, matches keep me awake.’

Orion’s Belt

Cristhiano Aguiar

‘Well, if the Bible, Greek tragedies and Star Wars have taught me something it’s that anything of great importance will eventually come in threes.’

Blasphemy

Fatima Bhutto

The tourists are gone. They’ve fled to Islamabad, along with the landlords and the hoteliers and the battalions of police that used to defend them, and certainty has left with them.

Heart and Soul in Every Stitch

Tash Aw

‘Where wealth and technology go, culture quickly follows, and soon it became acceptable, even desirable, to express an interest in Japan beyond the mere practicality offered by its products.’

Casta

Nicola Lo Calzo

An investigation of how historical racial factors shape memory, heritage and political and interpersonal relations in Louisiana and Mississippi.

Laparotomy

Alexandra Lucas Coelho

‘At forty, I think the world leads to the body. Besides, laid out on a stretcher, you are your only home’ .

Data Recovery

Diego Collado

‘The viewer has to pour their own unconscious into interpreting these images, make them their own, allow themselves to be encouraged by the existence of a void.’

Domain

Louise Erdrich

‘Seven corporations control the afterlife now, and many people spend their lives amassing the money to upload into the best.’