Explore essays and memoir
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 Best Book of 1943: Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles
Kathryn Scanlan on the best book of 1943: Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles.
Best Book of 1921: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
‘I wanted to understand the world and why it hurt, and soon I stumbled on the Tractatus’ Will Harris on the best book of 1921.
Best Book of 1966: Season of Migration to the North
‘Of course, literature cannot be separated from its flesh of language and form. Nor can its tangible subject explain why it moves its reader, through the subtleties of language, or the shadowy geographies that it leaves to the imagination.’
Best Book of 1999: Ai’s Vice
‘I love Ai’s work because it gives me permission and reminds me that poetry invented fiction. I needed that in 1999 and I need it today.’
Best Book of 1947: Call Me Ishmael by Charles Olson
Chris Power on the Best Book of 1947: Call Me Ishmael by Charles Olson.
Best Book of 1935: Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi
Naben Ruthnum on the best book of 1935: Junichiro Tanizaki's The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi.
Best Book of 1934: Bruno Schulz’s Cinnamon Shops (Sklepy cynamonowe)
David Hayden on why Bruno Schulz’s Cinnamon Shops (Sklepy cynamonowe) is the best book of 1934.
Best Book of 2011: Kingdom Animalia
‘As the title suggests, this is a book about the family of animals, the family of man, and the family of family.’
The Best Books of 2017: Dogtooth & The Giving Light
Danny Denton on why Fran Lock’s Dogtooth and Gavin Corbett’s The Giving Light are the best books of 2017.
Best Book of 2005: Zadie Smith’s On Beauty
Caoilinn Hughes on why Zadie Smith’s On Beauty is the best book of 2005
Best Book of 1953/1994: Trans-Atlantyk
‘The most Polish novel of the twentieth century was written in Argentina and published in France.’
Best Book of 2012: Unmastered: A Book on Desire, Most Difficult to Tell, by Katherine Angel
Rebecca Watson on the best book of 2012: Unmastered, by Katherine Angel.
Best Book of 1919: The Years Between by Rudyard Kipling
Robert Chandler on why The Years Between by Rudyard Kipling is the best book of 1919
Best Book of 2009: William Vollmann’s Imperial
Sam Byers on why William Vollmann’s Imperial is the best book of 2009
Best Book of 2013: Tom Drury’s Pacific
‘There is a remarkable flow to the novel, like that aimless but essential drunken chatter after your third pint.’ John Patrick McHugh on why Tom Drury’s Pacific is the best book of 2013.
Why Should You Be One Too?
Spencer Reece on alcoholism, homosexuality, and the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop.
Kings of the Yukon
An extract from Adam Weymouth’s Kings of the Yukon, winner of the Sunday Times / Peters Fraser + Dunlop Young Writer of the Year Award in association with the University of Warwick
Tishani Doshi on #MeToo, Anand Jon Alexander, and being sixteen in Chennai, India.
Kathryn Scanlan | Notes on Craft
‘I try to write a sentence as unbudging and fully itself as some object sitting on a shelf in my office.’
The Trouble With Rape
April Ayers Lawson on rape, trauma, and the difficulty of speaking out about sexual abuse.
Letter from Zaria
Memoir by Pwaangulongii Dauod, who writes from Zaria, Nigeria.
Sobre Cardi B
‘Es un himno crudo y catchy escrito por una mujer que ha confesado que escribe sobre lo que le gusta y que lo que le gusta es “fighting bitches”.’
On Cardi B
‘A crude, catchy hymn written by a woman who’s confessed to writing about what she likes, and that what she likes is “fighting bitches”.’
A New Front Line
Lindsey Hilsum shows how investigative reporting has become just as dangerous as frontline correspondence. ‘Investigative reporters are in more peril than ever and the front line has come to Europe.’
‘A middle-aged woman in teddy bear-spangled pajamas came hurtling down on a flatbed tricycle.’ Pallavi Aiyar returns to her old Beijing hutong.
The Editor’s Chair: On Daša Drndić
‘Language is always logic, no matter which language it is.’