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Best Book of 2008: The Alphabet

Rae Armantrout

Rae Armantrout on why Ron Silliman's The Alphabet is the best book of 2008.

Best Story of 1965: ‘Everything That Rises Must Converge’

Aimee Bender

Aimee Bender on why Flannery O’Connor's ‘Everything That Rises Must Converge’ is the best story of 1965.

Best Book of 2006: The Re-Emergence of Global Finance

Oliver Bullough

Oliver Bullough on why Gary Burn's The Re-Emergence of Global Finance is the best book of 2006.

Night Watch

Tim Dee

‘A nightjar is a dusty carpet whose pattern has absorbed into it every tread.’

Five Parties

Ned Beauman

‘The second year, I noticed before anyone else that the Coelophysis was trying to escape.’

Lady Neptune

Ann Beattie

‘The word money popped up like a bit of the ocean’s detritus riding in on a wave, but her lips formed the words ‘Merry Christmas’.’

About the Cover

Stanley Donwood

‘I took myself off to the woods, the fragments of the great forests that once spread over our continent.’

Lessons

Diana Athill

‘My two valuable lessons are: avoid romanticism and abhor possessiveness.’

Two Poems

Rae Armantrout

‘My long career / in explaining / my career.’

Saving Mesopotamia

Alexandra Lucas Coelho

‘What they are excavating is the birth of a civilisation.’

The Intoxicated Years

Mariana Enríquez

‘They cried as if they weren’t to blame for any of it. We hated innocent people.’

Robertus Heimric, Welcome Back

Upamanyu Chatterjee

‘He was the one survivor who remembered nothing.’

Fatima Bhutto on the Refugee Crisis

Fatima Bhutto

‘In a connected world, how can anyone close their doors?’

First Sentence: Molly Brodak

Molly Brodak

‘A name is a single small token of selfhood issued at birth, upon which all the rest of one’s person must be built.’

War in Donbas

Julian Evans

Six days on the front lines of Ukraine’s ongoing battle with pro-Russian separatists

Five Things Right Now: Caroline Criado-Perez

Caroline Criado-Perez

Caroline Criado-Perez, journalist, activist and author of Do It Like A Woman, shares five things she’s reading, watching and thinking about.

After Maidan

Oliver Bullough

‘A woman asked the steward behind the registration desk if our flight to Moscow was domestic or international. “We are still working on that,” the man answered.’

This is New

Marc Bojanowski

‘None of this would have happened if I’d just taken a deep breath, suppressed my emotions and said to the young woman, “Leave. Now.”‘

Bandit

Molly Brodak

‘There are fragments of a criminal alongside fragments of a dad, and nothing overlaps, nothing eclipses the other, they’re just there, next to each other. No narrative fits.’

The Emotional Life of Plants

Rae Armantrout

An exciton consists / of the escaped negative / (electron) / and the positive hole / it left behind.

The Mother of All Sins

Hanan al-Shaykh

‘Loving life is the mother of all sins.’

Lucy the Liar

Patrick deWitt

‘Tell me it’s a lie, now. Will you say that it is?’

A Numbered Graph That Shows How Each Part of the Body Would Fit Into A Chair

Mary Jo Bang

‘It’s a simple truth that one can occupy two / places at one time while sitting in a chair—the same way a / poseable doll can be divided from her dress.’

Light

Lesley Nneka Arimah

‘When Enebeli Okwara sent his girl out in the world, he did not know what the world did to daughters.’ 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize – regional winner for Africa.

The Gentlest Village

Jesse Ball

‘You are learning – learning a great deal. It is too much for you, so your body bows out. Then you wake up and you can continue.’

Position Paper

John Ashbery

‘This is my outfit. / Government spooks did the rest. Didn’t you know?’

The Florida Motel

Kevin Canty

‘Suddenly she understood what she was doing here. She was among strangers, the place where Bill had chosen to spend his life.’

Krapp Hour (Act 2)

Anne Carson

‘this is my theory of her awake all night worrying about little wild animals active in the dark’

English Summer

Amit Chaudhuri

‘What am I doing in London? And what’ll I do once I’m back in India?' Amit Chaudhuri on identity, youth and nostalgia.

Five Things Right Now: Urvashi Butalia

Urvashi Butalia

Urvashi Butalia is the co-founder of Kali for Women, India’s first feminist press. She shares five things she’s reading, watching and thinking about right now.

Othello Sucks

Upamanyu Chatterjee

Younger Daughter’s declaration that ‘Othello sucks’ prompts a conflicted response from Father.

Annawadi

Katherine Boo

In 2007 Katherine Boo travelled to Annawadi – a slum built on Mumbai Airport land – to document the lives of the families living there.

Rain at Three

Tishani Doshi

‘Rain at three splits the bed in half, / cracks at windows like horsemen blistering / through a century of hibernation.’

Honk Honk to Udvada

Chandrahas Choudhury

‘Oh Uncle, it’s such a historical day,’ said Zahra. ‘The eight hundredth anniversary of our arrival in India after we faced so much persecution in Iran, and we’re going to such a big bash, and all you can think about is emus. What will Dr Billimoria think of our family?’

Cairo: September 2014

Wiam El-Tamami

‘Over the past few months, the government has been ad-libbing the time.’

The Foreign Correspondent

Pallavi Aiyar

‘The absence of Indian foreign correspondents was, and is, unexceptional.’