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Beetle

Joanna Kavenna

An excerpt from ZED, the forthcoming novel by Joanna Kavenna, a Granta Best of Young British Novelist.

Boxing

Fatima Farheen Mirza

Fatima Farheen Mirza on navigating gender roles in a Muslim family, wearing hijab and learning how to box.

My Mother Pattu

Saraswathy M. Manickam

Saraswathy M. Manickam’s ‘My Mother Pattu’ is the Asian regional winner of the 2019 Commonwealth Short Story Prize.

A Season on Earth

Gerald Murnane

‘He had forgotten in the seminary how many distractions there were in the world.’

The Sole Purveyor of Madame Bovary in Beijing circa 1989

Amanda Lee Koe

‘In the day, his bevy of besotted rustics were coached in maxims of libertarian socialism. By night: rice wine orgies and folk punk sing-alongs.’

The Ungrateful Refugee

Dina Nayeri

‘I was born in 1979, a year of revolution, and grew up in wartime.’ Dina Nayeri on growing up in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

To Zinder

Sven Lindqvist

Obsessed with a single line from Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness – Kurtz’s injunction to ‘Exterminate All the Brutes’ – Sven Lindqvist set out across Central Africa, and wrote a book that revealed precisely what Europe’s imperial powers had exacted on Africa’s people over the course of the preceding two centuries.

Rules for Visiting

Jessica Francis Kane

‘It wasn’t until the end of dinner, when my aunt started clearing and my grandmother demanded another bottle of wine, that I began to understand.’

American Girl and Boy from Shobrakheit

Noor Naga

‘Question: is romance just a father who never carried you to bed carrying you, at last, to bed?’

Evensong

Todd McEwen

‘Characteristically my wife refused to be drawn into the situation while I became obsessed with it.’

Tadpoles

Primo Levi

‘It was a harsh and brutal puberty: the tiny creatures began to fret, as if an inner sense had forewarned them of the torment in store’

The Snow in Ghana

Ryszard Kapuściński

‘We always carry it to foreign countries, all over the world, our pride and our powerlessness.’ Translated from the Polish by William Brand.

Dreams for Hire

Gabriel García Márquez

‘The wave had erupted with such force that it obliterated the glass lobby.‘ Translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor.

Agnes of Iowa

Lorrie Moore

‘Through college she had been a feminist – more or less. She shaved her legs, but just not often enough, she liked to say.’

Nadine at Forty

Hilary Mantel

‘Each day we re-enact, on ourselves, what was done to us.’

Kiltykins

Ved Mehta

‘When I was seeing Kilty (how, even today, the word 'seeing' mesmerizes me), the fact of my blindness was never mentioned, referred to, or alluded to’.

Always the Same Snow and Always the Same Uncle

Herta Müller

‘Who knows: what I write I must eat, what I don’t write – eats me.’

Two Poems

Jennifer L. Knox

‘The Tanners are like mushrooms: born with every molecule / they’ll ever need.’

A Great Lake

Nam Le

‘The system wants us to want to belong, at almost any price.’

Two Poems

Caroline Knox

‘Make way, please, for the / cold blob; not blog, it’s / blob.’

A Mother’s Dilemma

Victor Lodato

‘I can hear the girl scratching a pencil inside a notebook. I don’t like it. I’ve asked her not to write about me.’

On Meeting Mrs Obama

Sarah Ladipo Manyika

‘Michelle’s story, while deeply rooted in the American story, speaks to experiences that are universal.’

Ghostlands

Jennifer Kabat

Jennifer Kabat on the Anti-Rent War, one of the earliest moments of rural populism in the US, and something few know about outside the Catskill Mountains.

Vintage 1954

Antoine Laurain

An extract from Vintage 1954 by Antoine Laurain, translated from the French by Emily Boyce and Jane Aitken.

A Night in the Engadine

John Kaag

John Kaag, author of Hiking with Nietzsche, camps out in the mountains of the Engadine where Nietzsche wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra.

At the Edge of Night

Friedo Lampe

An excerpt from Friedo Lampe’s At the Edge of Night, translated from the German by Simon Beattie.

The Politics of Feeling

Nick Laird

‘Everything already is fraying at the edges if not completely gone.’

The Guests

Hisham Matar

‘Strangely, it was Joseph Conrad who introduced me to Edward Said and not the other way around.’

Picking Up Nathan from the Airport

Benjamin Markovits

‘When shit like this happens, people don’t walk out on fifteen-year marriages.’

Harmflesh

Margie Orford

‘This burning girl that I am with skin stretched white hot across unfair flesh. Harmflesh.’

Two Keiths and the Wrong Piano

Hanif Kureishi

‘My response to the music had reminded me that concealed inside myself was a more excitable and open self raring to get out.’

Objects in Mirror

Maxim Osipov

‘He runs through the events of the day in his mind. Fairly frightening, really: the sudden request for his file, the question about the government. And the silence.’

Confessions of a White Vampire

Jeremy Narby

‘Many of the people I was living with considered me a white vampire, who killed to extract human fat.’ Jeremy Narby on the Amazonian myth of the white vampire.

Imperium

Ryszard Kapuściński

Ryszard Kapuściński, once the only foreign correspondent for the Polish Press Agency, on the concept of borders.

If You Start Breathing

Thea Lim

‘Sharing her pain with other people meant that her pain belonged to her less, Joanne belonged to her less.’

Portion of Jam

Mazen Maarouf

‘My father no longer goes to the hospital to work, because you don’t find nurses in wheelchairs working in hospitals.’