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The Comrades and I

Mona Abouissa

Mona Abouissa on her experiences with Egyptian communists, and the role they played in Egypt before 1952, when they were excised from official history.

Russia on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown

Liza Alexandrova-Zorina

‘The Russian people suffer from a victim complex: they believe that nothing depends on them, and by them nothing can be changed.’

Clown School

Nuar Alsadir

Political resistance, poetry, self-revelation all spring from that provocative, impish drive to burst free from external constraints.

Between Great Fires

William Atkins

‘This is the perennial anxiety – that at any moment, day or night, you might be snatched and shackled and tried and sent back.’

Out of the Cradle

John Barth

‘What had formerly been a sedative, a tranquilizing soporific, had morphed into a facilitator of reflection, contemplation, deliberation, even inspiration.’

Elif Batuman | Is Travel Writing Dead?

Elif Batuman

‘The power imbalance built into travel writing is just a heightened version of an imbalance that’s there in all writing.’

Tara Bergin | Is Travel Writing Dead?

Tara Bergin

‘If you laugh and tell me I am only speaking metaphorically, I will reply: what other way do you expect me to speak?’

The Back Way and the Way Back

Will Boast

Despite emerging from two decades of misrule under Yahya Jammeh, many Gambians still aspire to go ‘the back way’ into Europe.

Davos Woman

Trisha De Borchgrave

‘Did she process my gentle hand in the same way as the objectifying touch of the men before me? Did she know the difference?’

Same-same but different | Discoveries

Ka Bradley

This week’s Discoveries features translation in all its many articulations.

Writing While Worried

Fanny Britt

‘Just as it can spur me on, worry is adept at stifling and silencing.’

Écrire Avec Facultés Affaiblies

Fanny Britt

Comme il a grandi, j’ai pensé, puis j’ai passé la débarbouillette sous l’eau tiède du lavabo de la salle de bain.

Trollhättan

Andrew Brown

Andrew Brown on Swedish society and the Trollhättan school attack.

Microtravel: Home and Away

Vahni Capildeo

‘The place I thought I knew best had become unknown territory, by the perhaps not-so-simple process of taking a few steps.’

hardcore thigh burn | Discoveries

Eleanor Chandler

This week’s Discoveries is full of rad poetry, translations and criticism.

Amit Chaudhuri | First Sentence

Amit Chaudhuri

‘A scene in which nothing is ostensibly happening will absorb me; so will a paragraph that contains no vital piece of information.’

The Canada Pictures

Douglas Coupland

‘In the year leading up to this I started collecting objects that, in some way, evoked a sense of Canadianness in me.’

An Island Presence

Howard Cunnell

‘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.’

What is it that hurts?

France Daigle

‘Our visibility and our affirmation as a people is established through our language.’

Rana Dasgupta | Is Travel Writing Dead?

Rana Dasgupta

‘This is a literature of checkpoints and fences, and the improvised gaps through which desperate people pass.’

Notes on a Suicide

Rana Dasgupta

‘The problem was that, for the most part, it did not matter how widely broadcast your discontent was: no one cared.’

Crossing Borders

Carys Davies

Carys Davies on how the settlement of the American West can help us understand Donald Trump’s nativism.

Prozac Culture

Brian Dillon

Brian Dillon on the Prozac craze of the 90s, and his experience taking the infamous antidepressant.

I Am Lying

Miranda Doyle

‘Findings show that the bigger the brain, the more frequent the deceit.’ Miranda Doyle on why we lie.

Cyprus United

Joe Dunthorne

‘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.’

Geoff Dyer | Is Travel Writing Dead?

Geoff Dyer

‘What kinds of writing aren’t travel writing?’

The Colonel’s New Life

Charlotte Eagar

A refugee family’s journey from Syria to Germany.

Things I Didn’t Know

Wiam El-Tamami

‘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.’

Soon Comes Night

Ekow Eshun

‘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.