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Explore Essays and memoir

Black and Female

Tsitsi Dangarembga

‘By the time I was in my teens, I had taken up an existence framed by a double negative: not male, not white.’

An excerpt from Tsitsi Dangarembga’s essay collection, Black and Female.

Words in the Head and Words in the Sentence

Herta Müller

‘During an interrogation speech glows hot in the mouth, and what is spoken freezes.’

Herta Müller on language. Translated from the German by Philip Boehm.


Sigrid Rausing

‘Our theme of conflict is internal as well as external.’

The editor introduces the issue.

Letters from Ukraine

Lindsey Hilsum

‘As every soldier and every journalist who has ever covered a war knows – sleeping and eating are the most important things.’

Lindsey Hilsum writes home from Ukraine.

The Recipe

Rebecca May Johnson

‘The recipe is a text that can produce spattering because it was spattering before it was language.’

Rebecca May Johnson on recipes, repetition and intimacy.


Janet Malcolm

‘The Czech word skromnost means “modesty”, but it also carries a mild sense of forelock-tugging humbleness, of knowing one’s place.’

An excerpt from Janet Malcolm’s final book.

Talk America

George Prochnik

An excerpt from George Prochnik’s forthcoming memoir.

The Moving Target of Being

Suzanne Scanlon

‘When I was in the hospital, the belief in “recovered memories” was at its peak.’

Suzanne Scanlon on the shifting parameters of illness.

A Place That Belongs to Us

Daniel Trilling

‘The notes belong to you, said the guards, but the paper you wrote them on is ours.’

Fragmentary non-fiction by Daniel Trilling.


Sana Valiulina

‘While Fateha is fleeing westward with her children, another woman is trying to save herself from the city on the shore of the Sea of Azov.’

Memoir by Sana Valiulina, translated by Polly Gannon.

Signs of an Approaching War

Volodymyr Rafeyenko

‘We were ourselves migrating birds; in a sense, refugees, displaced persons, without a home or a home town.’

Volodymyr Rafeyenko on the war on Ukraine, translated by Sasha Dugdale.

A Wolf in the Forest Wants

Sarah Moss

‘I biked to the hospital anyway, because it didn’t occur to me to think of an alternative form of transport.’

Sarah Moss on her admission to hospital.

Another Patagonia

Louis Rogers

‘From the sloth skin onwards, In Patagonia is built around scraps and surfaces.’

Louis Rogers on travelling in Bruce Chatwin’s footsteps.


Lynne Tillman

Lynne Tillman on mother love and obligation.