Explore essays and memoir
The Comrades and I
Mona Abouissa on her experiences with Egyptian communists, and the role they played in Egypt before 1952, when they were excised from official history.
Russia on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
‘The Russian people suffer from a victim complex: they believe that nothing depends on them, and by them nothing can be changed.’
Political resistance, poetry, self-revelation all spring from that provocative, impish drive to burst free from external constraints.
Between Great Fires
‘This is the perennial anxiety – that at any moment, day or night, you might be snatched and shackled and tried and sent back.’
Out of the Cradle
‘What had formerly been a sedative, a tranquilizing soporific, had morphed into a facilitator of reflection, contemplation, deliberation, even inspiration.’
Elif Batuman | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘The power imbalance built into travel writing is just a heightened version of an imbalance that’s there in all writing.’
Tara Bergin | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘If you laugh and tell me I am only speaking metaphorically, I will reply: what other way do you expect me to speak?’
The Back Way and the Way Back
Despite emerging from two decades of misrule under Yahya Jammeh, many Gambians still aspire to go ‘the back way’ into Europe.
‘Did she process my gentle hand in the same way as the objectifying touch of the men before me? Did she know the difference?’
Same-same but different | Discoveries
This week’s Discoveries features translation in all its many articulations.
Writing While Worried
‘Just as it can spur me on, worry is adept at stifling and silencing.’
Écrire Avec Facultés Affaiblies
Comme il a grandi, j’ai pensé, puis j’ai passé la débarbouillette sous l’eau tiède du lavabo de la salle de bain.
Microtravel: Home and Away
‘The place I thought I knew best had become unknown territory, by the perhaps not-so-simple process of taking a few steps.’
hardcore thigh burn | Discoveries
This week’s Discoveries is full of rad poetry, translations and criticism.
Amit Chaudhuri | First Sentence
‘A scene in which nothing is ostensibly happening will absorb me; so will a paragraph that contains no vital piece of information.’
The Canada Pictures
‘In the year leading up to this I started collecting objects that, in some way, evoked a sense of Canadianness in me.’
An Island Presence
‘I can almost believe in the permanence of these warm days, this unchanging child whose hand fits mine. But I can feel the cold and the darkness coming.’
What is it that hurts?
‘Our visibility and our affirmation as a people is established through our language.’
Rana Dasgupta | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘This is a literature of checkpoints and fences, and the improvised gaps through which desperate people pass.’
Notes on a Suicide
‘The problem was that, for the most part, it did not matter how widely broadcast your discontent was: no one cared.’
Carys Davies on how the settlement of the American West can help us understand Donald Trump’s nativism.
Brian Dillon on the Prozac craze of the 90s, and his experience taking the infamous antidepressant.
I Am Lying
‘Findings show that the bigger the brain, the more frequent the deceit.’ Miranda Doyle on why we lie.
‘The idea that football might provide an opportunity to overcome our dumber instincts seemed ridiculous now: football was a chance to set our idiocy free.’
Things I Didn’t Know
‘When people would ask me what I was doing in Istanbul, I would explain that I’m a freelance writer and translator, and I move a lot. I move intuitively, I would say: places call to me.’
Soon Comes Night
‘I’d become so used to hiding away inside myself I couldn’t respond with any spontaneity. I was stuck in the shallows of my emotions.’ Ekow Eshun on success, night terrors and therapy.
When We Fight, We Have Our Children With Us
‘We are all politically involved whether we like it or not, and children are already on the frontlines.’
Vinyl Road Trip
After an unexpected email, David Flusfeder heads to Detroit to discover his father’s history and the world of vinyl manufacturing.
‘Language is a risk that a nation takes. If a language survives, its people do too.’ Translated from the French by David Homel.
Plus tard, ils me diront comme tu étais un grand homme. Un savant. Un érudit de la chasse.
‘It was my child’s outlook to think most things were right. And yet if life’s eternal drama is of events seeking a more perfect state, their life and mine was not that.’
The Survivals of Lafcadio Hearn
‘Did Hearn feel comfortable in Japan because being a foreigner overshadowed his physical difference?’