Explore essays and memoir
Amit Chaudhuri | First Sentence
‘A scene in which nothing is ostensibly happening will absorb me; so will a paragraph that contains no vital piece of information.’
The Tamarind is Always Sour
‘By law, the more than one million Rohingya in Myanmar are almost all excluded from Myanmar citizenship, making them the largest stateless group in the world.’
On Jesus’ Son
‘Jesus’ Son is a song, a glorious clear hymn, full of the notes of bad decisions, of rotten fucking luck, of causing real and lasting damage to yourself and to the people around you.’
Remembering Denis Johnson
When people ask me what Denis was like, I always think about how he listened far more intently than just about any writer I’d ever met.
Russia on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
‘The Russian people suffer from a victim complex: they believe that nothing depends on them, and by them nothing can be changed.’
I Am Lying
‘Findings show that the bigger the brain, the more frequent the deceit.’ Miranda Doyle on why we lie.
Any Idiot Can Write a Book
A production company is looking for contestants to participate in a new TV show, modelled on The Apprentice. They are seeking unpublished writers who have completed a novel.
All That Was Familiar
The story of two women fleeing Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria.
‘It was my child’s outlook to think most things were right. And yet if life’s eternal drama is of events seeking a more perfect state, their life and mine was not that.’
Robert Moor remembers hitch-hiking across Newfoundland: ‘The way to pronounce Newfoundland, Bill and Sue instructed me, is to remember that it rhymes with understand.’
Things I Didn’t Know
‘When people would ask me what I was doing in Istanbul, I would explain that I’m a freelance writer and translator, and I move a lot. I move intuitively, I would say: places call to me.’
I come from a place on your bucket list
Deepti Kapoor on travel, authenticity and the peculiarity of being Indian in Uganda.
Elif Batuman | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘The power imbalance built into travel writing is just a heightened version of an imbalance that’s there in all writing.’
Yet Trouble Came
Phillip Lewis on writing emotional autobiography. ‘A sincere observation followed by a sincere utterance is the most powerful and effective form of communication.’
The Bonds of Trauma
‘An often-unacknowledged truth about families that deal with addiction is that the bonds of trauma can be as challenging to quit as the habit itself.’
Morwari Zafar | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘What satellites and the internet don’t do is give a voice to experience. And that’s where travel writing endures.’
The Back Way and the Way Back
Despite emerging from two decades of misrule under Yahya Jammeh, many Gambians still aspire to go ‘the back way’ into Europe.
Sara Wheeler | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘Mass travel has liberated the form. No amount of package tours will stop ordinary life quietly continuing everywhere on earth.’
Letters to Donald Trump
Barbara J Zitwer, Linda Coverdale, Elham Manea, Colm Tóibín, Anne Landsman, Kyung-sook Shin
Six writers and translators respond to Donald Trump’s travel bans. ‘It is always easy to invent enemies; it merely takes a failure of imagination.’
‘We do not understand why, nor did we covet such long life, but here we are, our respective addictions and madness with us to the end.’
International Women’s Day 2017
‘We want to share with you some of our favourite pieces – published by us and by others – that present clear-headed explorations of gender in our society’
Wendell Steavenson | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘Our globalised world of easyJet and Google Translate does not seem to have fostered any greater understanding’
The Best of Banned Books
‘Our Civilization cannot afford to let the censor-moron loose. The censor-moron does not really hate anything but the living and growing human consciousness.’ A very short history of the censor-moron in the United States.
Olivia Laing | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘Which bodies can go where might be the central question of our century.’
An Island Presence
‘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.’
Karan Mahajan | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘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.’
Since Everything Was Suddening Into A Hurricane
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.’
Between Great Fires
‘This is the perennial anxiety – that at any moment, day or night, you might be snatched and shackled and tried and sent back.’
Vinyl Road Trip
After an unexpected email, David Flusfeder heads to Detroit to discover his father’s history and the world of vinyl manufacturing.