Explore essays and memoir
Saved to ‘Drafts’
‘I know you’ll make the right choice; even if you don’t, you’re still beloved family.’
Letters to My Father, Now Dead
‘I was glad to see General Pavel at your funeral, Father.’
The Boy Who Watched the Ships Go By
’For the last thirty years I've been keeping track of the ships that sail through the Bosporus’.
Scarp | New Voices
‘His imagination lingers in the woods and fields like a slowly drifting plant community and then dissolves into ditches lined with black waterlogged leaves – a residue of previous summers – and the ghosts of dead insects.’
Ants of Accra
‘Ants became an obsession with her – she darted with them as they changed paths, watched them find their way around obstacles placed in their way.’
‘My last glimpse of Paolo was on the platform at Verona station when I pointed him out to the police.’
‘It was explained to me that in Italy a formality is a sort of dormant volcano.’
Mountains Don’t Know Borders
‘In the Balkans, the present is often perched precariously on top of the past.’
‘When you are free, you inevitably feel compelled to act, but when incarcerated, you are powerless to do so.’
‘Once you knew what God wanted from your life, you would have to be ten different kinds of fool to look the other way.’
Fred Pearce | Notes on Craft
‘For a hack like me, book-length meta-journalism is both a luxury and a challenge. I cannot hide my own views over 100,000 words, even if I want to.’
The Royal African Society takes a look back at the history of the Africa Writes festival, their annual celebration of contemporary literature from Africa and the diaspora.
Paradox of Plenty
‘The blend of volatile domestic politics and geostrategic oil interests is at best opaque and at worst thoroughly corrosive of all involved.’
Kashmir’s Forever War
‘Yes, the gun was from Pakistan, but the stones are our own. That is our only weapon against the occupation.’
The Golden Goat to Communist Ratio
‘Few people can pinpoint where Bulgaria is on the map. Some people might tell you they can, but you shouldn’t believe them.’
Miroslav Penkov | First Sentence
‘It was an old woman’s racism that inspired the first line of ‘Blood Money’.’
Be Careful with that Fan
‘I was stuck in Texas for a month. The days passed like slow-motion films.
Best book of 1936: Locos
Ingrid Persaud on why Felipe Alfau’s Locos is the best book of 1936.
Best Book of 1949: The Thief’s Journal
‘To read it is to feel the alternative tempo in the rude repetitions of the thief who loves to steal.’
The Last Modernist
‘If there were any sense of cultural justice in this country, the Westway – that chunk of concrete modernism – would be renamed after J.G. Ballard.’
Jim Magee’s Hill
‘No one who’s seen The Hill has been able to describe it to me without visceral discomfort. Actually, no one’s been able to describe it at all.’
‘Curling herself into a tight fist against the cold, Martha huddled in the doorway and wondered if tonight she might see snow.‘
Getting Away With It
A case of Russian espionage from Tim Phillips' book The Secret Twenties: British Intelligence, the Russians, and the Jazz Age.
England, Whose England?
‘My Anglophilia was something like haemophilia - that is, I was easily bruised by facts so stayed away from them.’