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A Norwegian Nightmare

Alf Kjetil Walgermo

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

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.’

Ali the Muscle

Johnny West

‘All individuality is collapsed by the dog-eat-dog language of ‘us and them’ into a choice between one of two separate, irreconcilable identities.’

All I Know About Gertrude Stein

Jeanette Winterson

‘The more I love you, the more I feel alone.’

An Afghanistan Picture Show

William T. Vollmann

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

Arithmetic on the Frontier

Declan Walsh

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

Barrenland

A Yi

‘I no longer feared that she would entrap me; my heart would not soften.’

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.’

Bulletproof Vest

Maria Venegas

‘Maybe you should consider moving’

Bush House

Mirza Waheed

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

Cricket in Samoa

Gavin Young

‘Balls flew towards the beach or into dense jungle. Enthusiastic young fielders tumbled head over heels in the morning glories. Village elders, large, heavy-breasted, critical men, lay in the shade on cushions discussing the course of play like contented sea lions on their favourite rocks.’

Diego Garcia

Simon Winchester

‘How do you persuade a thousand dogs to walk into a fire? How do you persuade them, as it were, to commit suttee?’.

Field Burning

William Wharton

‘I thought after what had happened to us in the past twenty-four hours I’d never be scared to die again, but I am.’

Fortune

Tobias Wolff

‘We’d left Sarasota in the dead of summer, right after my tenth birthday, and headed west under low flickering skies that turned black and exploded and cleared just long enough to leave the air gauzy with steam.’

Frank’s Place

Richard Williams

‘Marilyn Monroe spent a couple of nights at the Cal-Neva. Sinatra knew she was in a bad way.’

Gentlemen

Eudora Welty

‘There is no telling where I may apply, if you turn me down.’

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.’

Here Come the Tanks

Patrick Wright

‘In these civilian circumstances, unhampered by any opposition from aircraft, landmines, artillery or other tanks, the tank seems unstoppable.’

Holy Solitude

Kong Yalei

‘I always think, either as a reader or as a writer, one person – anyone – can struggle against this filthy world by entering into a world of literature.’

Home: Peckham

Evie Wyld

‘Peckham is the place of my adolescence, my first cobbled together attempts at dressing myself from the charity shops on Rye Lane.’

How to Write about Africa

Binyavanga Wainaina

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

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.’

In Gikuyu, for Gikuyu, of Gikuyu

Binyavanga Wainaina

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

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.’

Introducing Daniel Galera

Alejandro Zambra

‘It’s hard to introduce Daniel Galera’s tale without resorting to adjectives that are more likely to arouse distrust than interest.’

Italo Calvino

John Updike

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

Jihad Redux

Declan Walsh

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

Joburg

Ivan Vladislavić

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

Keeping it in the family

Claire Vaye Watkins

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

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.’

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.’

Liberation Day

Christa Wolf

‘The world stubbornly refused to end and we were not prepared to cope with a world that refused to end.’

Maori War

Peter Walker

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

Mrs de Pelet

Evie Wyld

‘I see her with her hands cupped in front of her shouting ‘The “O”, ladies, The Vaginal O’ as we read Shakespeare.’

My First European

Edmund White

‘I belong to the last generation of Americans obsessed with Europe and intimidated by it.’

Naples is Closed

Barry Unsworth

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