Explore essays and memoir
Writing Like Degas Paints
Sulaiman Addonia on how Edgar Degas’s nude portraits inspired his latest novel, Silence Is My Mother Tongue.
‘A middle-aged woman in teddy bear-spangled pajamas came hurtling down on a flatbed tricycle.’ Pallavi Aiyar returns to her old Beijing hutong.
since feeling is first
‘The way we manage erotic knowledge is connected to our handling of unwanted truths’
I Will Never See the World Again
‘I was in a cage because a man had eaten an apple.’ Translated from the Turkish by Yasemin Çongar.
The Editor’s Chair: On Christine Montalbetti
‘For Montalbetti to have achieved this syntactic ease in French is a feat. For the translator to reproduce it in English requires the capacities of a medium.’
‘Rihanna had cut her hair short, and she was no longer being marketed as the Caribbean Beyoncé.’
‘More than once the new dog was aggressive, a stab of fire, but I did not tell the grown-ups. I feared they would take him away.’
Who Killed Tolstoy?
‘I walked along the birch-lined alleys of Yasnaya Polyana, looking for clues. Snakes were swimming in the pond, making a rippling pattern. Everything here was a museum.’
What Do Women Want?
‘What we’re arguing about turns out to be how to speak to each other at all.’
Breasts: A History
‘My breasts are shrinking. As my fat redistributes it settles in my belly and leaves my chest.’
Kent Will Tear Us Apart
All the Devils Are Here was cursed with the status of a cult classic. It’s a book that people who’ve read it, especially writers, can never forget.
The Editor’s Chair: On Daša Drndić
‘Language is always logic, no matter which language it is.’
The Agony and Ecstasy of Escape
Will Boast on how Bernini's Apollo and Daphne helped him write his latest novel
A Few Words about Fake Breasts
‘You repeat this over and over. You pinch your nipples harder. Then harder and harder still. You twist them. You dare them to say Mercy. You stare into your own eyes that are watching you from the mirror.’
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.’
A Summer of Japanese Literature
From manga to crime fiction, contemporary literature to Nobel-Prize-winning classics, here are ten works of Japanese literature worth spending your summer on
Best Book of 2009: William Vollmann’s Imperial
Sam Byers on why William Vollmann’s Imperial is the best book of 2009
Karl Kraus and Veza
‘It was natural that the rumors about both these people should reach me at the same time; they came from the same source, from which everything new for me came at that time.’
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
The Farmer’s Son
‘I’m twenty-nine and I’ve never delivered a calf myself. But that’s all about to change’
‘There is something about the presence of coyotes that makes any place feel wilder than it is.’
The Falconer and the Hawks
‘A fine balance of precision and coiled unsparing instinct, all contained within a gossamer skein of feather, skin, muscle and bone.’
'I never worried about my flat catching fire before Poppy came along.' Caroline Criado-Perez on her pet Poppy.
Best Book of 1953/1994: Trans-Atlantyk
‘The most Polish novel of the twentieth century was written in Argentina and published in France.’
Letter from Zaria
Memoir by Pwaangulongii Dauod, who writes from Zaria, Nigeria.
Carys Davies | Notes on Craft
‘All good stories are both resonant and concrete; they live in the mind of the reader and reverberate beyond the pages of the book.’
Of Donuts I Have Loved
‘Krispy Kremes melt at the touch, are tender and loving, are used by my family to perform a wholeness we do not always feel’
‘Didn’t we remember lyrics fine before we had the internet in our pockets?’ Danny Denton on the lost art of sing-songing.
Danny Denton | Notes on Craft
‘My tuppence on craft is this: as a writer, you must give your reader space to experience the world of your story (whatever form it takes)’
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.
Tishani Doshi on #MeToo, Anand Jon Alexander, and being sixteen in Chennai, India.
Telling My Story
‘I wonder if they could all smell the queer on me, the queer in me, the burgeoning sexuality that I had no words for at the time.’