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My Chess Teacher

Ricardo Lísias

‘The environment, however, wasn’t a hostile one. Though it was filled with the strangest guys in town, they were only there to play.’

Biographical Detail

Ángel González Muñiz

‘The cockroaches in my house complain because I read at night’.

The Chronicle of the Wrinkled-Face Sheikh

Salman Natour

‘No other inanimate object retains emotion as strongly as keys do. Fingerprints are engraved on them as if the laws of wear and tear do not apply.’

A Hebrew Sibyl

Cynthia Ozick

‘And so began what I was to become. To all these things – the admonitions and the testimonies, the rites and the annunciations – I had easily acquiesced.’

The Alphabet of Birds

S.J. Naudé

‘She is standing there, her body like a lamp, waiting for the glass to break.’

Books and Roses

Helen Oyeyemi

‘A golden chain was fastened around her neck, and on that chain was a key.’

Five Things Right Now: Dorothea Lasky

Dorothea Lasky

Dorothea Lasky, author of the poetry collection, Rome, shares five links of what she’s reading, watching and thinking about right now.

Cynthia Ozick | First Sentence

Cynthia Ozick

‘Some stories begin with an incident, or a set of enigmatic circumstances, or a scene indelibly witnessed, or the relationship of unlike temperaments, or even something as gossamer as a mood. And then there is the kind of story that is rooted in an idea.’

The Husband Stitch

Carmen Maria Machado

‘I have heard all of the stories about girls like me, and I am unafraid to make more of them.’

Bad Seeds

Masatsugu Ono

‘Evil, she told herself. That was the name of the flower.’

The Question of Fate

Catherine Lacey

‘The possibility that I’d unwittingly tapped into her fate and used it as fuel for a story sickened me.’

Why I Can No Longer Look at a Picnic Blanket Without Laughing

Yukiko Motoya

‘But the customer had already been in the changing room for three hours.’

Two Poems

Hoa Nguyen

‘I wrote ‘valley’ when I meant ‘longing’ / Your laugh a river A trout kind of green.’

Blood Is Usually Red

Katherine Faw Morris

‘A lot of babies were born in skiffs during storms, their umbilical cords cut with rusty pocketknives.’

Melinda Moustakis | First Sentence

Melinda Moustakis

‘We all would like to think that with one line, one brush, we could make a reader fall madly in love, and there are writers that elicit such a response with the appropriately gorgeous.’

River So Close

Melinda Moustakis

‘She’s a good-for-nothing chummer. If she survives a week on the slime line without cutting off her thumb or slicing her wrist, she’s hired.’

A Meeting of Minds with Henry David Thoreau

Andrew Motion

‘What am I doing here more than looking – / which I would stop / only to help things through their vanishing’

Chasing Wolves in the American West

Adam Nicolson

‘It is the wildest part of the American South-West and, in a way, its most beautiful.’

Grandma and Me

Thomas McGuane

‘Barring weather or a World Series game, on Sundays I’d pick up a nice little box lunch from Mustang Catering and take Grandma some place that smelled good.’

Never did amount to anything

Dorothea Lasky

‘Hi there, dear sister, I’m sad / But here to tell you / That you never did amount to anything’

Kseniya Melnik | Five Things Right Now

Kseniya Melnik

Kseniya Melnik, chosen in 2010 as a Granta New Voice, shares five things she’s reading, watching and thinking about right now.

Sasayama

Nadifa Mohamed

‘It was in one of those listless summers after graduation that I found myself in the small Japanese town of Sasayama.’

Let’s Tell This Story Properly

Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi

‘We are not burying one of us in snow.’

Smartening Up

Aoko Matsuda

‘‘Let’s become monsters together,’ she said, looking straight into my eyes.’

Bucket of Eels

Mitsuyo Kakuta

‘I was gazing into my empty bowl and realizing how little time it takes to eat when you’re not carrying on a conversation.’

The Casualties

Katie Kitamura

‘The following are some of the Japanese players who also appeared in the major leagues during the Age of Ichiro.’

The Power of a Grandmother Named Tranquilina

Valerie Miles

'Never underestimate the power of a grandmother to leave her mark on coming generations, or the taste of her cooking to cause an epiphany big enough to give the world a shiver.'

A Clean Marriage

Sayaka Murata

‘Frequency of sex since marriage: zero.’ Sayaka Murata on a sexless marriage and the ‘Clean Breeder’ technique for pleasureless reproduction.

Breakfast

Toshiki Okada

‘If I had known she were heading for Tokyo then, and if I had known she thought of Tokyo as a city of zombies, I would have wanted to know, of course, whether she saw me that way, too.’

Variations on a Theme by Mister Donut

David Mitchell

‘But what if he answers in Martian? I’ll die.’

Linked

Ruth Ozeki

‘old poems, like polished stones, / tumbled words to break my teeth on.’

Things Remembered and Things Forgotten

Kyoko Nakajima

It was something Takashi remembered but Masaru had forgotten.

Final Fantasy III

Tao Lin

‘On the F train to Manhattan I emailed a friend in the UK. I said I couldn’t write my essay about Japan.’

Blue Moon

Hiromi Kawakami

‘Rather than death itself, it is the disappearance of traces that seems unbearable and sad. The disappearance of all signs that I existed.’

Spider Lilies

Hiroko Oyamada

‘The breeze smelled of many things: autumn and earth, the green of the countryside, face powder and old age.’