Explore essays and memoir
Mark Gevisser examines the personal, political and social issues of transgender identity in America.
‘I was dying to buy something, anything that would help my wife and children understand the profound surrealism and warped reality I’d experienced on my research trip to North Korea.’
Mnemosyne, Teen Taals, and Tottenham Court Road
‘Music is a puissant recaller of time past; music is memory's sister and for its very life relies on memory to hold in our minds the passage of sounds through time.’
The Highway of Brotherhood and Unity
‘Back in 1989, we thought the new world opened up by the breaching of the Berlin Wall would be ruled by philosopher kings, dissident heroes and shipyard electricians.’
The Cage of You
‘They treated their bodies like some exotic animal they’d found fast asleep, beings they needed to wake to truly know.’
Seven Days in Syria
‘I had come to Syria because I wanted to see a country before it tumbled down the rabbit hole of war’
‘The kitchen telephone would ring and it would be Gustavo Stroessner, the General's son, bellowing in that strange accent down a fuzzy line from Brazil, like an unruly fictional character nagging for a larger part in the plot.’
Jenni Fagan | My Writing Playlist
Best of Young British Novelist Jenni Fagan selects five songs that she loves to write to.
Do Fish Feel Pain?
‘Our mistake in this debate is to think that these issues can be resolved by science and ethics and the passing of nice clear laws’.
Footplacers, London Transport, Owls, Wincer-Boise
‘All those footsteps have been gathered up into the footplacer, all those goings are gone.’
The House by the Gallows
‘Along with religion, an unthinking nationalism had become the other god of Pakistan.’
Doing the Paperwork: Life in the aftermath of a violent death
‘If the pressure of their life didn’t kill her it made the fight too hard.’
India! The Golden Jubilee: Introduction
‘I first went to India twenty years ago as a reporter.’
My Grandmother, the Censor
‘Where do crimes begin and end, and who, decades later, can be held responsible?’
‘You have to go on the offensive until you smell victory. Then you have the aphrodisiac and can go full tilt.’
Best of Young British Novelists 2003: Introduction
‘What had been an exercise to publicize the literary novel, at a time when there were few spotlights on this particular branch of culture, might now have a new role as an independent consumer's guide to novelists who deserved to be read in an era where 'a thrilling debut by a young writer of enormous talent' is the standard blurb, and where there are now so many spotlights directed by marketing money and the size of the writer's advance.’
‘Nicaragua has always impelled its writers into politics, or exile, or both.’
If God Existed, He’d Be a Solid Midfielder
‘I came to this fine country from Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the winter of 1992, a couple of months before the war started.’
Dividing the Kingdom
‘I get on the train to hear the funereal call of my boyhood: ‘Reading, Didcot Parkway, Oxford.’’
The Fall of Saigon
‘I wanted to see Vietnam for myself. I wanted to see a war, and I wanted to see a communist victory, which I presumed to be inevitable. I wanted to see the fall of a city.’
Arguing With The Dead
‘My childhood was spent in Kimberley, the diamond-mining town in South Africa.In those years most of the mines were no longer being worked’.
A Journey into Afghanistan
‘We had been travelling for a week, and had reached the territory of the Hesb Nasr: a rival group of mujahedin who were notorious for ambushing travellers, stealing their weapons and skinning their victims.’
‘Jack Nicholson, I've heard, used to own one. And I understand why.’
Asking for it
‘Having my hair cut one morning in February 1999, I fell foul of one of those barber-shop discussions which are a feature of life here in Italy’.
‘It would’ve been a magical moment if my neighbours hadn’t started fucking at that very second.’
Road to Cambodia
‘The buildings were full of surprises. In one, surrounded by winking lights, the last abbot was lying in his coffin. He had died a year before, and it would be another two years before he was cremated.’
White into Black
‘It is hard to believe that, in 1952, there were only two places on earth where blacks could not be insulted or mistreated simply because of their colour: Haiti and Liberia.’