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Explore Essays and memoir

Notes on Craft

Sara Freeman

Sara Freeman, author of Tides, on writing while seeing the wood for the trees.

First Rites

Anna Della Subin

An excerpt from Anna Della Subin’s Accidental Gods.

Best Book of 1930: The Man Without Qualities

Elaine L. Wang

Elaine L. Wang on the best book of 1930: The Man Without Qualities.

Best Book of 2012: The Round House

Larissa Pham

‘Nine years after publication, Erdrich’s text still feels timely, even urgent.’

Larissa Pham’s best book of 2012.

Best Book of 2019: A Month in Siena

Emmanuel Iduma

‘In art he finds the language with which to exchange mourning for some measure of equanimity.’

Emmanuel Iduma’s best book of 2019.

Best Book of 1982: A Boy’s Own Story

O Thiam Chin

‘It didn’t occur to me that reading and being a reader was two very distinct things, one an act and a skill, and the other a role and a persona’

O Thiam Chin’s best book of 1982.

Best Book of 1988: Camera

Juliet Jacques

Juliet Jacques on her best book of 1988.

Introduction: On Staying at Home

William Atkins

‘If the following pieces can be said to have an overriding characteristic, it is that they take seriously the experience of being a stranger.’

Guest editor William Atkins introduces the issue.

On Mistaking Whales

Bathsheba Demuth

‘The people who lived here lived in the heads of whales.’

A historian from New England goes to the Bering Strait.

The Steepest Places: In the Cordillera Central

Ben Mauk

‘In the mountains, however, Duterte seemed to have met his match.’

Ben Mauk meets the mountains of Luzon.

The Dam

Taran N. Khan

‘Invisible borders are not the same as open borders.’

Taran N. Khan on Hamburg’s Steindamm.

Travelling Secretary

Emmanuel Iduma

‘My life unfolded within the net effect of my father’s choices.’

Memoir by Emmanuel Iduma.

Graffiti Mobili

Jennifer Croft

‘The picture of a postcard is a geograft, a scion of a place thrust into the life of a resident of somewhere else.’

Jennifer Croft on graffiti and the history of the postcard.