Explore essays and memoir
The Ungrateful Refugee
‘I was born in 1979, a year of revolution, and grew up in wartime.’ Dina Nayeri on growing up in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Obsessed with a single line from Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness – Kurtz’s injunction to ‘Exterminate All the Brutes’ – Sven Lindqvist set out across Central Africa, and wrote a book that revealed precisely what Europe’s imperial powers had exacted on Africa’s people over the course of the preceding two centuries.
‘It was a harsh and brutal puberty: the tiny creatures began to fret, as if an inner sense had forewarned them of the torment in store’
The Snow in Ghana
‘We always carry it to foreign countries, all over the world, our pride and our powerlessness.’ Translated from the Polish by William Brand.
Dreams for Hire
‘The wave had erupted with such force that it obliterated the glass lobby.‘ Translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor.
‘When I was seeing Kilty (how, even today, the word 'seeing' mesmerizes me), the fact of my blindness was never mentioned, referred to, or alluded to’.
On Meeting Mrs Obama
‘Michelle’s story, while deeply rooted in the American story, speaks to experiences that are universal.’
Jennifer Kabat on the Anti-Rent War, one of the earliest moments of rural populism in the US, and something few know about outside the Catskill Mountains.
A Night in the Engadine
John Kaag, author of Hiking with Nietzsche, camps out in the mountains of the Engadine where Nietzsche wrote Thus Spoke Zarathustra.
‘Strangely, it was Joseph Conrad who introduced me to Edward Said and not the other way around.’
‘This burning girl that I am with skin stretched white hot across unfair flesh. Harmflesh.’
Two Keiths and the Wrong Piano
‘My response to the music had reminded me that concealed inside myself was a more excitable and open self raring to get out.’
Confessions of a White Vampire
‘Many of the people I was living with considered me a white vampire, who killed to extract human fat.’ Jeremy Narby on the Amazonian myth of the white vampire.