The Swallow’s Nest
Meet Gore Vidal in this excerpt from John Boyne’s novel A Ladder to the Sky.
Jack Losh reports from rebel-held Bria in the Central African Republic, where fighting has forced thousands into a displacement camp.
Mariana Enríquez | Notes on Craft
‘I found a way to speak: the women talked for me’ Translated by Josie Mitchell.
Bohemian Rhapsody in Five Acts
Tiffany Murray on living with Freddie Mercury as a child.
Ali Fitzgerald | Notes on Craft
Notes on crafting a graphic memoir from Ali Fitzgerald.
The Woman Dies
‘The woman dies. She dies to provide a plot twist. She dies to develop the narrative. She dies for cathartic effect. She dies because no one could think of what else to do with her.’ Aoko Matsuda, translated from the Japanese by Polly Barton.
Horror from David Hayden. ‘A shuddering, wordless voice rose in the distance, and another, and another; a chorus, a lament, which ended in a low grunt. There was a coda of sobbing. There was silence.’
I’m Black So You Don’t Have to Be
'Can the black author really write out of her or his colour? In writing about black characters can they ever escape race?' Colin Grant looks at the evolution of racial politics.
A young film composer turns to prostitution in a short story by Naben Ruthnum, set in a Rome of the early 1970s.
‘I Am Going to Speak to You about Anxiety’
‘Her mother was still sitting on the sofa, stroking the left armrest while she talked.’
‘My blood is on its way to becoming something that even when given for free can be brokered and sold like ingots or wheat.’
Writing Like Degas Paints
Sulaiman Addonia on how Edgar Degas’ nude portraits inspired his latest novel, Silence Is My Mother Tongue.
A coming-of-age story about an awkward roommate on Roosevelt Island, ordering bisexual porn tapes from catalogues and writing summaries of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet for a living.
Slip of a Fish
‘Charlie’s swimming. Six strokes then she turns to breathe, six more and all the way to the end of the length. She’s a swimmer, Charlie. She’s a bit of a fish, a slip of a fish.’
‘Tryptamine skies and the forehand backhand falter / in earth’s revolutions’
‘All through winter and another summer we wait, but time passes more quickly now that we have a purpose. I feel it flowing.’
I Wrote a Poem About a Fucking River
‘though I’ve sat where torrents recall no slush / I’m drawn by your ceramic explosions’
Sharing the same bed, dreaming different dreams
Ma Jian shows the excess and corruption of the Chinese Communist party in this excerpt from his new novel, China Dream, translated from the Chinese by Flora Drew.
Reflections on shame in sacred spaces
‘At sunset the light is both nasty and nice / in my robe.’
Lucia Berlin Writes Home
Nina Ellis on the life and writing of Lucia Berlin. ‘If Berlin's collections were houses, their hallways would change direction without warning, and their rooms would be bright and dark at the same time.’
Can infidelity make up for infidelity? New fiction from John Patrick McHugh.
I’ll Go On
‘Swish-swish, swish-swish. The sound fills the large space around them, and Nana finds this deeply satisfying.’
Amy Sackville | The Proust Questionnaire
‘What is your guiltiest pleasure? Is it really a pleasure if you feel bad about it?’
Day of Awe
New short fiction from Diane Williams' Collected Stories. ‘I fear I lack deep feelings, have flighty ideas, and am often irritable over trifles.’