‘Which bodies can go where might be the central question of our century.’
‘I can almost believe in the permanence of these warm days, this unchanging child whose hand fits mine. But I can feel the cold and the darkness coming.’
A refugee family’s journey from Syria to Germany.
‘Too often, a kind of travel writing – especially the novel set abroad in an exotic locale – feels like a way of allegorizing and escaping problems at home.’
After a sudden stroke, Binyavanga Wainaina and his lover travel to Nairobi to reconcile with his father.
Carys Davies on how the settlement of the American West can help us understand Donald Trump’s nativism.
‘Writing about other people doesn’t have to be an exercise of power or a theft of identity.’
‘This is the perennial anxiety – that at any moment, day or night, you might be snatched and shackled and tried and sent back.’
After an unexpected email, David Flusfeder heads to Detroit to discover his father’s history and the world of vinyl manufacturing.
‘We need a new genre of travel writing, gleaned from the stories refugees and migrants.’
‘The first time I ever visited a place I’d read about in a travel book was when my family took a holiday in Hong Kong in 1993.’
‘I grew up in the semi-tropical south, dotted by wet paddy fields, but I always wanted to go to the north.’
‘But I still get homesick, that vast and deep pit in the stomach, every time I go away.’
‘Travel writing of most kinds, not just the humorous, has the history of colonialism perched on its shoulder.’
‘In my imagination I have been to many villages and cities in the world.’
‘The death of travel – and of the travel book – has been predicted for almost a century.’
‘The best writers rose to the challenge by seeking not originality of destination, but originality of form.’
‘Apartheid had marked him, as it has marked all of us, in different ways. It made me hyper-aware of colour.’
‘The writer on place has to go further inward, into the realm of silence and nuance and personal enquiry.’
‘I have come to believe that we are all migrants, that the experience of migration unites all human beings.’
‘What kinds of writing aren’t travel writing?’
‘This is a literature of checkpoints and fences, and the improvised gaps through which desperate people pass.’
‘These photographs capture that fatal boredom in the face of this slow-motion catastrophe.’
‘I didn’t have the language for why I could not be a tourist in the same way as my white counterparts.’
‘Even in its subtler forms, the act of looking is an act of self-regard.’
‘If you laugh and tell me I am only speaking metaphorically, I will reply: what other way do you expect me to speak?’
‘The push and pull of identity politics is the child of slavery and empire.’ Ben Rawlence on empire and the construction of white identity.
Peter Pomerantsev takes us on a tour of the lewd, crude language of modern politics – from Trump to Putin to Duterte, Milo Yianopoulos, Boris Johnson and more.
Ben Mauk on nationalism and xenophobia in Poland.
Mona Abouissa on her experiences with Egyptian communists, and the role they played in Egypt before 1952, when they were excised from official history.
‘When the Holy Family was fleeing from Jerusalem, spiders wove such a thick web around the road that the swords of Herod’s soldiers couldn’t pierce it.’
‘What sets Hoffmann’s work apart is the meeting of the joint impulses of Enlightenment and Romantic thought’
‘While the terrible pain of speech is made clear, this book ultimately reminds us that we must not be silenced.’
‘Now more than ever environmentalists need to remember what it’s like to write for that real world.’
Hoa Nguyen on why Joanne Kyger’s On Time is the best book of 2016.
‘Time is a rubber band, and in a single sentence, ghosts and alternative worlds superimpose’
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