Explore essays and memoir
The Agony and Ecstasy of Escape
Will Boast on how Bernini's Apollo and Daphne helped him write his latest novel
‘There is something about the presence of coyotes that makes any place feel wilder than it is.’
‘More than once the new dog was aggressive, a stab of fire, but I did not tell the grown-ups. I feared they would take him away.’
The Farmer’s Son
‘I’m twenty-nine and I’ve never delivered a calf myself. But that’s all about to change’
The Falconer and the Hawks
‘A fine balance of precision and coiled unsparing instinct, all contained within a gossamer skein of feather, skin, muscle and bone.’
‘I didn’t start my journal with the idea of recording my progress toward the ultimate truth.’
Kent Will Tear Us Apart
All the Devils Are Here was cursed with the status of a cult classic. It’s a book that people who’ve read it, especially writers, can never forget.
‘Didn’t we remember lyrics fine before we had the internet in our pockets?’ Danny Denton on the lost art of sing-songing.
Best Book of 1996: The Lost Lunar Baedeker
‘Mina Loy has been a preferred voice in my head, echoing with a signature delirious chant as a kind of primordial poetry mother.’
Writing While Worried
‘Just as it can spur me on, worry is adept at stifling and silencing.’
What is it that hurts?
‘Our visibility and our affirmation as a people is established through our language.’
The Canada Pictures
‘In the year leading up to this I started collecting objects that, in some way, evoked a sense of Canadianness in me.’
Écrire Avec Facultés Affaiblies
Comme il a grandi, j’ai pensé, puis j’ai passé la débarbouillette sous l’eau tiède du lavabo de la salle de bain.
Political resistance, poetry, self-revelation all spring from that provocative, impish drive to burst free from external constraints.
‘Did she process my gentle hand in the same way as the objectifying touch of the men before me? Did she know the difference?’
Brian Dillon on the Prozac craze of the 90s, and his experience taking the infamous antidepressant.
Soon Comes Night
‘I’d become so used to hiding away inside myself I couldn’t respond with any spontaneity. I was stuck in the shallows of my emotions.’ Ekow Eshun on success, night terrors and therapy.
Notes on a Suicide
‘The problem was that, for the most part, it did not matter how widely broadcast your discontent was: no one cared.’
Out of the Cradle
‘What had formerly been a sedative, a tranquilizing soporific, had morphed into a facilitator of reflection, contemplation, deliberation, even inspiration.’
‘The idea that football might provide an opportunity to overcome our dumber instincts seemed ridiculous now: football was a chance to set our idiocy free.’
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.’
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.’
Microtravel: Home and Away
‘The place I thought I knew best had become unknown territory, by the perhaps not-so-simple process of taking a few steps.’
I Am Lying
‘Findings show that the bigger the brain, the more frequent the deceit.’ Miranda Doyle on why we lie.
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.’
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.’
Same-same but different | Discoveries
This week’s Discoveries features translation in all its many articulations.
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.
hardcore thigh burn | Discoveries
This week’s Discoveries is full of rad poetry, translations and criticism.
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.’
Carys Davies on how the settlement of the American West can help us understand Donald Trump’s nativism.
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.’