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Zagreb

Dubravka Ugrešić

‘‘We’ll print your book if you bring us 140 kilos of paper,’ says my friend, a publisher. ‘Where can I find 140 kilos of paper?’ ‘I don’t know. That’s your problem, you’re the writer.’’

A question of identity

Dubravka Ugrešić

‘One of the first things a child learns is the sentiment: My country is… And so begins the homeland briefing that lasts from the cradle to the grave.’

The Art of Moving On

David Ulin

‘This felt like the moment New York disappeared for me.’

Naples is Closed

Barry Unsworth

‘Naples had always been high on the list of places I wanted to visit‘.

Getting The Words Out

John Updike

‘No, it is not confrontation but some wish to avoid it, some hasty wish to please, that betrays my flow of speech.’

Italo Calvino

John Updike

‘Post-modernism, if it can be said to exist at all, had in Calvino its most seductive showman.’

Bulletproof Vest

Maria Venegas

‘Maybe you should consider moving’

Soundings

Abraham Verghese

‘On the first day of June, 1972, I was taught how to percuss the body.’

Seminarians

Marcos Villatoro

‘The seminary building, parked smack in the middle of the campus, looked west to Davis Hall (women), south to another women's dorm building, and east to the vocationless, unharnessed men of Beast Hall. What did they expect, with so many earthly reminders of flesh around us? Out of the fourteen young men who discerned the call, few, very few, made it to ordination.’

Pariah

Viramma

‘All my children have been buried where they died’

The Sins of the Flesh

Margaret Visser

‘The message that vegetarianism imparts to the rest of us is ascetic and exclusive.’

The Last Eighteen Drops

Vitali Vitaliev

‘Drinking vodka is just a memory for me now. Vodka was hurting me .’

Joburg

Ivan Vladislavić

‘When a house has been alarmed, it becomes explosive.’

An Afghanistan Picture Show

William T. Vollmann

‘The windbreakers of the passengers standing at the rail fluttered violently.’

Body Snatchers

William T. Vollmann

‘The All-American Canal was now dark black with phosphorescent streaks where the border’s eyes stained it with yellow tears.’

The Coral Reef

Tran Vu

'"So, our last night of socialism," Dzung said as he squatted down beside me. I pulled two cigarettes out of my pocket and handed one to him, but didn't reply.'

Bush House

Mirza Waheed

‘I first stepped into Bush House on a dreary November day in 2001. It was a trepid walk.’

In Gikuyu, for Gikuyu, of Gikuyu

Binyavanga Wainaina

‘My first name, Binyavanga, has always been a sort of barometer of public mood.’

How to Write about Africa

Binyavanga Wainaina

‘Always end your book with Nelson Mandela saying something about rainbows or renaissances. Because you care.’

One Day I Will Write About This Place

Binyavanga Wainaina

‘We are, it seems, in the middle of nowhere.’

A Norwegian Nightmare

Alf Kjetil Walgermo

‘Could we somehow have avoided feeding the killer at our own breast?’

Maori War

Peter Walker

‘It would be hard to overstate the importance of genealogy in Maori society.’

We Went to Saigon

Tia Wallman

‘I thought that this must be the sort of plane that crashes. What were a few more dead, travelling to the city of the dead?’

Arithmetic on the Frontier

Declan Walsh

‘These days the tempest of Taliban violence ripping across the frontier has shaken Peshawar to its core.’

Jihad Redux

Declan Walsh

‘American patience snapped, and Washington took matters into its own hands.’

In Cyberspace: a love letter

Joanna Walsh

‘I’m at a cafe table. It doesn’t matter which country. I’ve been travelling for a long time. By train. Nine, ten different countries in thirty days, a couple of nights in each, maybe three at most.’

Persian Love

Alan Warner

‘It is 6:22 of what beauty and life's joy there is to extract’

Keeping it in the family

Claire Vaye Watkins

‘My father first came to Death Valley because Charles Manson told him to.’

In the Shadow of John Ascuaga’s Nugget

Claire Vaye Watkins

‘It would be falsely modest to claim that I appreciate the hot dog on any level beneath that of connoisseur.’

King’s Girls

Lindsay Watson

‘The effeteness of a small number of King's students was fascinating to me at first, then repellent, and before long completely uninteresting. They dressed in peculiar clothes, talked in silly voices and appeared to me to be living caricatures of the human race. At times I longed for some familiar ordinariness and found it with boys from other colleges who introduced me to football and pool and pubs.’

The One True God, Allah

Richard Watson

‘This is the story of the British jihad.’

Letter from Wyoming

Brad Watson

‘Before I moved to Wyoming in 2005, I was – like a lot of people outside this region, it turns out – not quite sure just where it was.’

Notes from Italy

William Weaver

‘It was easy to meet people, especially if you were a wide-eyed American and spoke Italian. The literary world was particularly accessible, for all the intellectuals wanted to know about the States.’

One Ridge Over

Josh Weil

‘Some mornings I see him coming up through the mist. The grey shape of a long-haired man carrying a long-barreled gun amid the bare grey branches of the old apple trees.’

The Aesthetics of Resistance

Peter Weiss

‘His whole life, he had declared while still at work on this painting, was nothing less than a continual struggle against the backwardness of thought and the killing of art.’

The Romanovs Come to Stay

Frances Welch

‘When I was a child I seemed to live in a fog of inattention which cleared only when I was alone.’