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Passport Control

Kwame Dawes

‘I am Ghanaian. This is my legal label. I was born there. It is my inheritance.’

Into the Cosmos

Chloe Aridjis

‘In those fervently atheist times, it wasn’t God or his angelic messengers who would come forth from the sky, but the cosmonaut.’

War in Donbas

Julian Evans

Six days on the front lines of Ukraine’s ongoing battle with pro-Russian separatists

Lavande

Ann Beattie

‘It seemed impossible, but probably everyone marries thinking such a thing impossible.’

The Pretty Women of Paris

Anonymous

‘For the last fifteen years she has been richly kept by a Russian prince, who revels in her brutality, viciousness, extravagance and love of brandy.’

The Life and Death of a Homosexual

Pierre Clastres

‘There was no sweetness in the air that day: the corpse gave off a terrible stench’.

Six Brazilian Songs

Teju Cole

Teju Cole shares six favourite Brazilian songs.

Mona’s Story

Urvashi Butalia

‘I’m a woman, I’ve always wanted to be one, it’s that simple.’

Tales Out of School

Kees Beekmans

‘But it seems I’ve said something stupid again, and blasphemous to boot.’

The Meaning of Zombies

Naomi Alderman

‘They’re the interchangeable anonymous people we encounter on our daily commute, those whose humanity we cannot acknowledge.’

Delinquent in Derry

Nik Cohn

‘Across the river, in a Catholic enclave in the Waterside district, there was a disused funeral home in which, three nights a week, at 6d a shot, contraband teen movies could be sat through and sometimes seen, according to the state of the projector.’

Antediluvian

John Biguenet

‘To the inexperienced, hurricane stories always sound like exaggerations.’

LA Women

Douglas Brooker

‘I was bored. That was how it started. Anything I ever did that amounted to anything–or not–has always been the result of being sick of doing something else.’

Meat Country

J.M. Coetzee

‘What the imagination cannot encompass is death. Death, it says to itself, is the end of pain. Death is a relief.’

God and Me

Diana Athill

‘Perhaps it’s just that the human mind is incapable of imagining anything that doesn’t begin.’

Rabih Alameddine | Portrait of My Father

Rabih Alameddine

‘I come from a family that hangs pictures of family on its walls.’

Means of Transport

John Berger

‘Use these photos as means of transport. Ride on them. No passes needed. Go close. Imprudently close. They leave every minute.’

People Don’t Get Depressed in Nigeria

Ike Anya

‘I open the newspaper and the word ‘Nigeria’ catches my eye.’

An Education

Lynn Barber

‘The whole meeting seemed completely unreal but then everything at that time seemed unreal, so I said ‘Yes, by all means make the film,’ and went back to the hospital and forgot about her.’

How to Fly

John Burnside

‘I flew for the first time when I was nine years old.’

New New World

Peter Conrad

‘I left Australia at the age of twenty, carrying with me everything I thought I would need.’

Ann Beattie | First Sentence

Ann Beattie

‘Several times I’ve wanted to title something one thing, but have realized or been persuaded it isn’t a good idea.’

When Did I Become a Writer?

Mia Couto

‘I am often asked when I became a writer, and I have taken to not rushing my answer.’

How to Read the Comics

Ariel Dorfman

‘Unlike the other comic strips in the magazine, ‘The Adventures of Mampato’ was conceived, illustrated, and entirely produced in Chile.’

Lovely Girls, Very Cheap

Decca Aitkenhead

‘A bar girl in Ko Samui is employed to attract customers. Almost every bar has at least one girl, and some of the larger bars have up to twenty’.

Thing with Feathers that Perches in the Soul

Anthony Doerr

‘It has to be love, doesn’t it? In however many of its infinite permutations?’

Bandit

Molly Brodak

‘There are fragments of a criminal alongside fragments of a dad, and nothing overlaps, nothing eclipses the other, they’re just there, next to each other. No narrative fits.’

Under Ice

Iain Banks

‘Andy runs out across the ice.‘

Alive, Alive-Oh!

Diana Athill

‘She thought of herself as a rational woman, but while she could sleep alone in an empty house for night after night without worrying, there were other nights when her nerves twitched like a rabbit's at the least sound.’

Life Among the Pirates

Daniel Alarcón

‘When Jacinto was a boy, only rich people had books.’

We Have No Minorities

George Bowater

‘The state can burn houses but it can't stop the rain, can't round up all the sheep. It isn't an easy place to control.’

Naomi Alderman | My Writing Playlist

Naomi Alderman

Naomi Alderman shares five songs she loves to write to.

After Maidan

Oliver Bullough

‘A woman asked the steward behind the registration desk if our flight to Moscow was domestic or international. “We are still working on that,” the man answered.’

Glitches

John Gregory Dunne

‘I prefer not to speculate about what might have happened if I had not taken the ECG.’

Inside Intelligence

Anthony Cavendish

‘Good heavens, old boy! It isn't the Russians we worry about; it's the British public that we don't want to know about it.’

A Poet in Cuba

Reinaldo Arenas

‘Perfect totalitarian systems have always been in the vanguard: they modify not only the past and the future, but they also abolish the present.’