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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.’

Life and Breasts

Ludmila Ulitskaya

‘My reminder of mortality came in early 2010, and I found the narrative that followed raw but completely engrossing. For the present, but only for the present, it is behind me.’

Naples is Closed

Barry Unsworth

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

Best Book of 2010: Mr Chartwell, by Rebecca Hunt

Emma Jane Unsworth

‘Hunt writes with brio, the visceral often blooming into the mystical.’

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.’

Root and Branch

Sana Valiulina

‘I am my father’s daughter, a former prisoner of war and “suspicious person” who spent ten years in the Gulag.’ Translated from the Russian by Polly Gannon.

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.’

L.A. Diary: Notes from a Mexikorean Country

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘I was reassured to see that my hotel does not resemble the one in The Shining.’

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.’

Since Everything Was Suddening Into A Hurricane

Binyavanga Wainaina

After a sudden stroke, Binyavanga Wainaina and his lover travel to Nairobi to reconcile with his father.

Women’s Shadow in the American Western

Thirza Wakefield

‘The wild is no place for women—the film would seem to say.’

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?’

Forbidden Games

Tia Wallman

‘We do not understand why, nor did we covet such long life, but here we are, our respective addictions and madness with us to the end.’

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.’

Ventimiglia

Joanna Walsh

‘Love is constant revolution, pure disruption, it can never be stilled.’

Hotel Haunting

Joanna Walsh

‘There was a time in my life when I lived in hotels. Around this time, the time I did not spend in hotels was time I did not live.’

Best Book of 1984: Amalgamemnon

Joanna Walsh

Joanna Walsh on why Christine Brooke-Rose's Amalgamemnon is the best book of 1984.