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A question of identity

Dubravka Ugrešić

‘One of the first things a child learns is the sentiment: My country is… And so begins the homeland briefing that lasts from the cradle to the grave.’

Zagreb

Dubravka Ugrešić

‘‘We’ll print your book if you bring us 140 kilos of paper,’ says my friend, a publisher. ‘Where can I find 140 kilos of paper?’ ‘I don’t know. That’s your problem, you’re the writer.’’

The Art of Moving On

David Ulin

‘This felt like the moment New York disappeared for me.’

Naples is Closed

Barry Unsworth

‘Naples had always been high on the list of places I wanted to visit‘.

Italo Calvino

John Updike

‘Post-modernism, if it can be said to exist at all, had in Calvino its most seductive showman.’

Getting The Words Out

John Updike

‘No, it is not confrontation but some wish to avoid it, some hasty wish to please, that betrays my flow of speech.’

The Lens Factory

John Updike

‘It made him feel lopsided, this sense of being plucked at by nervousness and dread.’

Out of Ark

Yumiko Utsu

‘How long has it been since Noah and his passengers set off in their vessel?’

A Brief History of Fire

Jennifer Vanderbes

‘My happiness was so deep I was afraid to speak of it.’

Bulletproof Vest

Maria Venegas

‘Maybe you should consider moving’

Maria Venegas | Interview

Maria Venegas

Maria Venegas discusses ‘Bullet Proof Vest’, her essay from Granta 108: ‘Chicago’ about her criminal father, who ‘shot a man when he was twelve years old’.

The Projects

Camilo José Vergara

‘Chicago was the first large American city I visited after I came to the United States from my home country, Chile.’

A Child’s Book of Death and Dying

Abraham Verghese

‘A fine morning mist had rolled down over Addis Ababa from the Entoto mountains, leaving a sheen on the lawn between the apartment buildings'.

Soundings

Abraham Verghese

‘On the first day of June, 1972, I was taught how to percuss the body.’

Epistle to the New Age

Gore Vidal

‘I’m Bishop of Macedonia, as you will know in time if you are not lucky enough to be in time already.’

L.A. Diary: Notes from a Mexikorean Country

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘I was reassured to see that my hotel does not resemble the one in The Shining.’

Second Dispatches from Ambassador to Brazil, Earth

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘Forget about football: queuing and stamping are Brazil’s national sports.’

Dispatches from Ambassador to Brazil, Earth

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘In Brazil it is crucial not to be Argentinian. Add that to our Earth mission’s proceedings manual under the topic ‘Cultural Affairs’.’

Brazil: A User’s Guide

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘The Brazilian banking system was created by a Czech writer called Franz Kafka.’

Mario Levrero | Best Untranslated Writers

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘I knew he was a ‘strange’ writer, unclassifiable, with a boundless imagination, who was creating one of the most intriguing, thought-provoking bodies of work in the Spanish language.’

Final Dispatch: End in Pizza

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘Those are not prisons, they are condominiums for rich people. Or at least that is what rich people think.’

Seminarians

Marcos Villatoro

‘The seminary building, parked smack in the middle of the campus, looked west to Davis Hall (women), south to another women's dorm building, and east to the vocationless, unharnessed men of Beast Hall. What did they expect, with so many earthly reminders of flesh around us? Out of the fourteen young men who discerned the call, few, very few, made it to ordination.’

Pariah

Viramma

‘All my children have been buried where they died’

The Sins of the Flesh

Margaret Visser

‘The message that vegetarianism imparts to the rest of us is ascetic and exclusive.’

The Last Eighteen Drops

Vitali Vitaliev

‘Drinking vodka is just a memory for me now. Vodka was hurting me .’

Joburg

Ivan Vladislavić

‘When a house has been alarmed, it becomes explosive.’

Sierra Leone

Teun Voeten

‘Sierra Leone is a small country on the coast of West Africa of roughly the same size and population as Scotland: 28,000 square miles, about five million people’.

Body Snatchers

William T. Vollmann

‘The All-American Canal was now dark black with phosphorescent streaks where the border’s eyes stained it with yellow tears.’

An Afghanistan Picture Show

William T. Vollmann

‘The windbreakers of the passengers standing at the rail fluttered violently.’

The Coral Reef

Tran Vu

'"So, our last night of socialism," Dzung said as he squatted down beside me. I pulled two cigarettes out of my pocket and handed one to him, but didn't reply.'

Bush House

Mirza Waheed

‘I first stepped into Bush House on a dreary November day in 2001. It was a trepid walk.’

Wheels of Progress

Gemini Wahhaj

‘Now Bangladesh survives only on aid, on other people feeding its people.’

One Day I Will Write About This Place

Binyavanga Wainaina

‘We are, it seems, in the middle of nowhere.’

In Gikuyu, for Gikuyu, of Gikuyu

Binyavanga Wainaina

‘My first name, Binyavanga, has always been a sort of barometer of public mood.’