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Lice

AK Blakemore

‘I often had head lice as a child. Outbreaks circulated around my primary school on a seasonal basis.’

A new essay from the author of The Manningtree Witches.

Undreamed Shores

Frances Larson

‘Miss C (who is fairly young and pretty) can’t go off by herself with a solitary man, however respectable, to live on the Siberian tundra.’

An Ounce of Gold and Máxima Acuña Atalaya

Joseph Zárate

‘To end up with an ounce of gold – enough to make a wedding ring – you need to extract fifty tonnes of earth, or the contents of forty removal lorries.’

My Phantoms

Gwendoline Riley

‘I’m not sure I even thought of him as a person, really. He was more just this – phenomenon.’

The Mezzanine, or: The Most Important Book About Nothing You’ll Ever Read

Joel Golby

‘It’s like taking an escalator trip into someone else’s mind for an hour, finding nothing of actual substance up there, and realising, as you retreat mournfully back into your own skull, that there’s nothing there, either.’

Notes on Craft

Ho Sok Fong

‘While writing we recover memories, recover moods, and we start to interpret them.’

Scapegoat

Katharine Quarmby

‘In 2000 the Disability Rights Commission was founded, to push for equal rights for disabled people. It had a major job on its hands, listening to and acting on individual cases – access, transport, discrimination – and getting the 2005 Disability Discrimination Act onto the statute book.’

Faith

Sayaka Murata

‘Hey, Nagaoka, wanna start a new cult with me?’

New fiction by Sayaka Murata, translated from the Japanese by Ginny Tapley Takemori.

Cheating

Ahmet Altan

‘I get into the police car with four officers from the Anti-Terrorism Branch. They are taking me to the prison.’

Fossil Dinner

Daisy Lafarge

‘The poor dish looks just like me.’

People From My Neighbourhood

Hiromi Kawakami

‘First prize went to the dog school principal, who of course had submitted a cartoon dog.’ Translated from the Japanese by Ted Goossen.

Surviving Autocracy

Masha Gessen

We knew Trump’s range: government by gesture; obfuscation and lying; self-praise; stoking fear and issuing threats.

Gospel

Carys Davies

‘I would explain to you then, if I could, the theory that in the case of hairline shape, there are two possible variants or alleles: straight, or widow’s peak.’