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Lesley Nneka Arimah

‘When Enebeli Okwara sent his girl out in the world, he did not know what the world did to daughters.’ 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize – regional winner for Africa.

Envy

Kathryn Chetkovich

‘Why does it hurt only to read good work by the living?’

The Man at the River

Dave Eggers

‘All he wants is to be a man sitting on a riverbed.’

Jumping Monkey Hill

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

‘His accent was what the British called posh, the kind some rich Nigerians tried to mimic and ended up sounding unintentionally funny.’

Jubilee

Carys Davies

‘His name was Arthur Pritt, he said, and he was sorry for the day.’

Human Moments in World War III

Don DeLillo

‘Happiness is not a fact of this experience, at least not to the extent that one is bold enough to speak of it.’

Mungo Among the Moors

T. Coraghessan Boyle

‘At an age when most young Scotsmen were lifting skirts, ploughing furrows and spreading seed, Mungo Park was displaying his bare buttocks to al-haff Ali Ibn Fatoudi, Emir of Ludamar.’

Gift for a Sweetheart

Isabel Allende

‘Horacio Fortunato was forty-six when the languid Jewish woman who was to change his roguish ways and deflate his fanfaronade entered his life.’

Girl on Girl

Diane Cook

‘Marni on Mack. Mack in Marni. A little Mack and Marni. My head rushes. I want to watch, hear the sounds.’

Some Other Katherine

Sam Byers

‘There were days when it seemed sordid and doomed; days which, oddly, Katherine found more romantic than the days of hope.’

The Indian Uprising

Ann Beattie

‘Then winter ended and spring came, and I thought, even if I don’t believe there’s a poem in anything any more, maybe I’ll write a story.’

The Mast Year

Diane Cook

‘Sounds like a mast year . . . it’s a thing that happens to trees. But sometimes it happens to people too.’

Morrison Okoli (1955-2010)

Jekwu Anyaegbuna

‘It is always an honour to have women cry during someone’s burial, but yours is too silent for comfort.’

Self-Portrait

Martin Amis

‘You’ve got your catflap, I’ve got my guy.’

Lucky Pierre and the Coldwater Flat

Robert Coover

‘Projections run riot, mirrors tip and weave, there’s a blur of images like film jumping out of its sprockets.’

Extracts From The Journal Of Flying Officer J

William Boyd

‘The squadron left today for the city. The mess cold and sad, Verschoyle, with uncharacteristic generosity, said I could keep the monoplane.’

Lucy the Liar

Patrick deWitt

‘Tell me it’s a lie, now. Will you say that it is?’

The Love Machine

Julia Elliott

‘Beatrice was my first love. The dark contours of her delicate skeleton, the glowing flesh made translucent by my X-ray gaze, drove me crazy.’

Mr Bones

Paul Auster

‘Mr Bones knew that Willy wasn't long for this world’.

The Colonel’s Son

Roberto Bolaño

‘Then Julie extracts her victim’s heart and eats it.’

On Monday Last Week

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

‘Kamara had always resented the glamour of half-castes.’

The Gentlest Village

Jesse Ball

‘You are learning – learning a great deal. It is too much for you, so your body bows out. Then you wake up and you can continue.’

Procreate, Generate

Anthony Doerr

‘Nothingness is the rule. Life is the exception.’

Hare in Love

Sam Coll

A wry, fanciful fable about how love can transform both nature and fate.

Parakeets

Kevin Brockmeier

‘The birds studied the mute as though he were a puzzle.’

Under Ice

Iain Banks

‘Andy runs out across the ice.‘

Money

Martin Amis

‘How did I get like this? It can't just be the booze and all the junk food I put away. I must have been booked in for this a long time ago.’

Five Hours to Simla

Anita Desai

‘He had his hands deep in his pockets, and his face was lined with a frown deeply embedded with dust.’

The Blood Drip

Brian Evenson

‘They had stumbled upon a town and tried to approach it, but had been driven off with stones.’

Emma Bovary’s Eyes

Julian Barnes

‘Her eyes are black: passion and depth. Her eyes are green: wildness and jealousy. Her eyes are brown: reliability and ordinariness. Her eyes are violet: the novel is by Raymond Chandler.‘

Sitting on Top of the World

T. Coraghessan Boyle

‘It was like floating untethered, drifting with the clouds, like being cupped in the hands of God.’

Democracy

Joseph Brodsky

‘Nothing, really, Petrovich. That Georgian, you know, that foreign minister of theirs, says that half an hour ago, Himself announced at a press conference that democracy is being introduced here.’

Abingdon Square

André Aciman

‘Your problem is not that you misread signs; it’s that you see them everywhere.’

Sparks

Carol Bensimon

‘Your anywhere is a river you watch as you smoke.’

Punnu’s Jihad

Nadeem Aslam

‘It is as though the metal itself is bleeding.’

The Falcon

Gilad Evron

‘He once called Gihon a limb of his own body.’