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Explore Essays and memoir

The Kobold

Daisy Hildyard

In a plain material sense the condition of being alive is that of living inside this contradiction – being membrane-bound.

On the Extremest Verge

Mark Doty

Mark Doty on the sly wit and visionary luminosity of Walt Whitman.

Trees, Disease

Philip Marsden

‘The greatest problem with the recent enthusiasm for tree-planting is disease. Large-scale projects mean large-scale movement of tree stock, which in turn has helped spread a number of highly contagious arboreal pathogens.’

Notes on Craft

Alan Rossi

‘The whole universe emerges and lives through this little consciousness that we call our self.’

Qualities of Earth

Rebecca May Johnson

‘Allotment earth is like the cache on a public computer, it holds too much information.’

I Remember

Georges Perec

Entries from Georges Perec’s I Remember, translated from the French by Philip Terry and David Bellos.

Forced Out

Kevin Maxwell

An excerpt from Kevin Maxwell’s revelatory exposé about his experiences in the British police force.

Diary of a London Lockdown

Poppy Sebag-Montefiore

‘The coronavirus seemed to demand immediate responses to the questions we’d been struggling with for years.’

To All My Past Neighbors

Jessica Francis Kane

‘Connections are being forged, even as we keep our distance. Let’s hold onto them in the after.’

Jessica Francis Kane on neighbourliness in the time of COVID-19.

The Paternoster: A Requiem

Mark Blacklock

‘To step into a paternoster lift is to step into the circulatory system of a building, to become a part of its very structure.’

On Alice Coltrane

Ashley Kahn

‘I habitually compartmentalize, until an artist so singular and unrooted reminds me to reboot my thinking.’

Carrot Bread

Annabel Banks

‘A short story is a loose-knit sweater, a trawler’s net, where the spaces and holes are inseparable from the whole.’

Plague Diary: April

Gonçalo M. Tavares

‘Pictures from some cities in Latin America: the burning in front of the family home of the dead who are not collected by the state.’

Introduction

Rana Dasgupta

‘We cherish communion, exchange and intercourse, of course, but also distance, seclusion and defence. Talk of membranes, therefore, is never entirely literal.’