Explore essays and memoir
Little nothings: Nabokov’s road notes
Elsa Court on why Vladimir Nabokov immersed himself in the all-American world of roadside service stations.
Julia Armfield | First Sentence
‘A first line is a threat, I think.’ Julia Armfield on the first sentence of her story ‘Longshore Drift’.
The Way to the Sea
‘Alone in the silent dark, she traversed the mouth of the estuary in mile-long sweeps, making a little more progress up the river each time she turned. Wind and tide were pushing her away, back towards the sea.’
Mother and Son:
Life and Fate
‘Nothing made her happier than to sacrifice herself for her son’s happiness.’
‘I prefer not to speculate about what might have happened if I had not taken the ECG.’
The Zoo in Basel
‘To create is to let take over something which did not exist before and is therefore new.’
Bill Buford on his decision to resign as editor of this magazine, which he relaunched in its present form in 1979.
‘I thought so highly of Vidia’s writing and felt his presence on our list to be so important that I simply could not allow myself not to like him.’
In Search of Beauty: Blackness as a Poem in Saudi Arabia
Sulaiman Addonia on the slow process of rediscovering the beauty of black skin after moving to Saudi Arabia as a child.
On High Heels and Lotus Feet
Summer Brennan on high heels, foot-binding, and our ongoing performances of gender.
10 Schools of Philosophy that should be better known (in the West)
The author of How The World Thinks: A Global History of Philosophy explains ten of the most overlooked philosophies from around the world.
‘I don’t see him staring back at me from the La-Z-Boy, I see me, I see a crystalline image of my own burned-out soul’
#TeamBaddiel vs #TeamBabel
‘Social media has allowed everyone in the world to raise their own little flag of self’
The Tension of Transience
‘How unusual that April night had been, yet how normal it had seemed at the time’
Populism and Humour
‘As reality has grown more absurd, the job of satirists has grown harder.’
Charlotte Collins | Notes on Craft
Charlotte Collins on the craft of translation. ‘Literary translators don’t just translate the ‘meaning’ of a text; we translate the feel of it.’
Margaret Atwood on Diana Athill. ‘Diana was admired by all who knew her, and also by all who read her memoirs, for her honesty, her plain but elegant style, her lack of pretenses, and her stoicism in the face of ever-narrowing possibilities.’
Best Book of 2011: Kingdom Animalia
‘As the title suggests, this is a book about the family of animals, the family of man, and the family of family.’
The Best Books of 2017: Dogtooth & The Giving Light
Danny Denton on why Fran Lock’s Dogtooth and Gavin Corbett’s The Giving Light are the best books of 2017.
Best Book of 1953/1994: Trans-Atlantyk
‘The most Polish novel of the twentieth century was written in Argentina and published in France.’
Best Book of 1919: The Years Between by Rudyard Kipling
Robert Chandler on why The Years Between by Rudyard Kipling is the best book of 1919
Best Book of 2009: William Vollmann’s Imperial
Sam Byers on why William Vollmann’s Imperial is the best book of 2009
Tishani Doshi on #MeToo, Anand Jon Alexander, and being sixteen in Chennai, India.
Letter from Zaria
Memoir by Pwaangulongii Dauod, who writes from Zaria, Nigeria.
‘A middle-aged woman in teddy bear-spangled pajamas came hurtling down on a flatbed tricycle.’ Pallavi Aiyar returns to her old Beijing hutong.
The Editor’s Chair: On Daša Drndić
‘Language is always logic, no matter which language it is.’
I Will Never See the World Again
‘I was in a cage because a man had eaten an apple.’ Translated from the Turkish by Yasemin Çongar.
Mariana Enríquez | Notes on Craft
‘I found a way to speak: the women talked for me’ Translated by Josie Mitchell.
‘Rihanna had cut her hair short, and she was no longer being marketed as the Caribbean Beyoncé.’
Writing Like Degas Paints
Sulaiman Addonia on how Edgar Degas’s nude portraits inspired his latest novel, Silence Is My Mother Tongue.