Explore essays and memoir
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’ nude portraits inspired his latest novel, Silence Is My Mother Tongue.
Lucia Berlin Writes Home
Nina Ellis on the life and writing of Lucia Berlin. ‘If Berlin's collections were houses, their hallways would change direction without warning, and their rooms would be bright and dark at the same time.’
Breasts: A History
‘My breasts are shrinking. As my fat redistributes it settles in my belly and leaves my chest.’
Of Donuts I Have Loved
‘Krispy Kremes melt at the touch, are tender and loving, are used by my family to perform a wholeness we do not always feel’
A Few Words about Fake Breasts
‘You repeat this over and over. You pinch your nipples harder. Then harder and harder still. You twist them. You dare them to say Mercy. You stare into your own eyes that are watching you from the mirror.’
A Summer of Japanese Literature
From manga to crime fiction, contemporary literature to Nobel-Prize-winning classics, here are ten works of Japanese literature worth spending your summer on
I Bite My Friends
‘The Easter Parade is winding down, when I spot Him. Her. Them. The Apparition.’
Telling My Story
‘I wonder if they could all smell the queer on me, the queer in me, the burgeoning sexuality that I had no words for at the time.’
What Do Women Want?
‘What we’re arguing about turns out to be how to speak to each other at all.’
The Editor’s Chair: On Christine Montalbetti
‘For Montalbetti to have achieved this syntactic ease in French is a feat. For the translator to reproduce it in English requires the capacities of a medium.’
since feeling is first
‘The way we manage erotic knowledge is connected to our handling of unwanted truths’
Ways of Looking
‘He is like a mantling hawk, his heft and body spreading over his prey as he tears off pieces of her with his eyes.’ Lulah Ellender on the male gaze.
Karl Kraus and Veza
‘It was natural that the rumors about both these people should reach me at the same time; they came from the same source, from which everything new for me came at that time.’
Carys Davies | Notes on Craft
‘All good stories are both resonant and concrete; they live in the mind of the reader and reverberate beyond the pages of the book.’
Who Killed Tolstoy?
‘I walked along the birch-lined alleys of Yasnaya Polyana, looking for clues. Snakes were swimming in the pond, making a rippling pattern. Everything here was a museum.’
Danny Denton | Notes on Craft
‘My tuppence on craft is this: as a writer, you must give your reader space to experience the world of your story (whatever form it takes)’
'I never worried about my flat catching fire before Poppy came along.' Caroline Criado-Perez on her pet Poppy.
It’s Only Skin
‘I knew what it was to be an object of desire, and to be submissive.’ Lily Dunn on being a painter's model as a girl.
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.’