Explore essays and memoir
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
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 1953/1994: Trans-Atlantyk
‘The most Polish novel of the twentieth century was written in Argentina and published in France.’
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.’
Best Book of 2009: William Vollmann’s Imperial
Sam Byers on why William Vollmann’s Imperial is the best book of 2009
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.’
Breasts: A History
‘My breasts are shrinking. As my fat redistributes it settles in my belly and leaves my chest.’
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.’
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)’
‘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.’
‘Didn’t we remember lyrics fine before we had the internet in our pockets?’ Danny Denton on the lost art of sing-songing.
I Bite My Friends
‘The Easter Parade is winding down, when I spot Him. Her. Them. The Apparition.’
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.
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.
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.’
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.
Letter from Zaria
Memoir by Pwaangulongii Dauod, who writes from Zaria, Nigeria.
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.’
Mariana Enríquez | Notes on Craft
‘I found a way to speak: the women talked for me’ Translated by Josie Mitchell.
‘A middle-aged woman in teddy bear-spangled pajamas came hurtling down on a flatbed tricycle.’ Pallavi Aiyar returns to her old Beijing hutong.
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’
‘There is something about the presence of coyotes that makes any place feel wilder than it is.’
‘Rihanna had cut her hair short, and she was no longer being marketed as the Caribbean Beyoncé.’
'I never worried about my flat catching fire before Poppy came along.' Caroline Criado-Perez on her pet Poppy.
since feeling is first
‘The way we manage erotic knowledge is connected to our handling of unwanted truths’
Tishani Doshi on #MeToo, Anand Jon Alexander, and being sixteen in Chennai, India.
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.’
The Agony and Ecstasy of Escape
Will Boast on how Bernini's Apollo and Daphne helped him write his latest novel
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.
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.’
The Editor’s Chair: On Daša Drndić
‘Language is always logic, no matter which language it is.’
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.’