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João’s War

Julia Rochester

‘He repeatedly said, “I should have been a priest.“ He was right. People sought his benediction.’

Observations on the Ground

Mary Ruefle

‘Those flowers belong to the dead.’

How We Got Mother Back

Valério Romão

‘With the passing of time we got used to hearing our brother being our mother.’

After Silk Road

Mike Power

‘The Dark Web is a shadow internet, an unindexed, unseen and lawless corner of cyberspace.’

Pax Americana

Rowan Ricardo Phillips

‘It looks like life, or its oasis.’

Teachers

Sandy Tolan

‘They came from Europe, Palestine and America, drawn by the story of Ramzi and Al Kamandjâti, by the young traveller’s spirit of adventure, and by the desire to use their musical talents for work that could make a difference in the world.’

A Brief History of a Musical Failure

Catherine Tice

‘At the end of the piece, there was silence, followed by a sudden thunder of feet and bows on the stands. A thrilling noise.’

Lullaby

Mary Ruefle

‘I wasn’t bored, I was relaxed, and, I suppose, happy (I’ve never been able to figure out how happiness feels).’

David Searcy | First Sentence

David Searcy

‘When I was a kid, my family doctor, right through high school, was this wonderful, funny guy with a little Boston Blackie moustache who looked a lot like Burgess Meredith.’

Miroslav Penkov | First Sentence

Miroslav Penkov

‘It was an old woman’s racism that inspired the first line of ‘Blood Money’.’

The Bridge Over Shuto Expressway No. 1

Alex Preston

‘Hiro Ōe wakes earlier now that he has the apartment to himself.’

Eternities

Charles Simic

‘Could they be the same person?’

The Hudson River School

David Searcy

‘The coyote skull is on the table.’

Blood Money

Miroslav Penkov

‘At first the Gypsies didn’t know how to answer their cellphone.’

Ross Raisin | On Tour

Ross Raisin

‘I was up at 5.30 this morning, to screaming, and it’s afternoon now and I’m covered in hummus and struggling to muster the energy to remove it from myself.’

Dutch Harbor Nights

Jim Ruland

‘When one of the fishermen starts belting out ‘All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Out Tonight’, it feels like a prophecy come to life.’

Petar Delchev | Best Untranslated Writers

Miroslav Penkov

‘I’m talking now of Mr Delchev’s bravery; of his books rightly loved by a faithful following of Bulgarian readers; of his words, still untranslated, which one day, I hope, will ring out in many foreign tongues.’

How to be Gay and Indian

Manil Suri

‘This was supposed to be my great in-your-face coming-out campaign, which I’d fretted over for months beforehand. Had India suddenly lost its conservativeness, turned enlightened, even hip?’

Guadalupe Nettel | Best Untranslated Writers

Santiago Roncagliolo

‘When I met her, I kept thinking: is she looking at me? Or rather, is she looking inside me?’

Eliza Robertson | Interview

Eliza Robertson

‘I suppose if something moves me to write, I don't question it.’

We Walked on Water

Eliza Robertson

‘Land of the misty giants: cedar, alder, Ponderosa pine. Cascade Mountains pushing out green like grass through a garlic press.’

Playing the Odds

David Szalay

‘What, I wonder now, must the texture of my life have been like then, that winning those sort of sums failed to leave even the slightest mark on my memory?’

Rachel Seiffert on Naomi Alderman

Rachel Seiffert

‘So, to summarise: witty, bold, and delicate too. Oh yes, and supremely able to turn a story.’

Taiye Selasi | My Writing Playlist

Taiye Selasi

Taiye Selasi, one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists, shares a playlist of songs to write to.

Zadie Smith on ‘Just Right’

Zadie Smith

‘There should be a special term for abandoned stories, and another for the strange limbo in which their occupants live.’

Vipers

Kamila Shamsie

‘Cover your nose and mouth, the order came, swift and useless; if they’d had their turbans they would have wound them around their faces but there were only the balaclavas.’

Europa

David Szalay

‘What she was like ‘as a person’ he has no idea.’

Driver

Taiye Selasi

‘I am the full-time driver here. I am not going to kill my employers. I have read that drivers do that now.’

Slow Motion

Adam Thirlwell

‘It really wasn’t normal for me to wake up and not know how I got there. A normal pastime for me was to be intent on mathematical problems, or models of voting patterns in different democratic states.’

Just Right

Zadie Smith

‘There’s no romance in that child whatsoever. No clue of the magic of storytelling. I’ll bet you a dollar she wears a girdle already.’

Arrivals

Sunjeev Sahota

‘But he couldn’t lose the sense that this was a turning point in his life, that she’d been delivered to him for a reason.’

Submersion

Ross Raisin

‘It is obvious now that we can have no control over our journey, or its end.’

Salman Rushdie on Sunjeev Sahota

Salman Rushdie

‘You open a book by a writer you’ve never heard of and a new voice leaps off the page and makes you listen.’

From the Past Comes the Storms

Andrés Felipe Solano

‘During the hottest months, the thermometer settles in at 100 degrees like a nonagenarian in a rocker – no one can make it move.’

Julie

Darcy Padilla

Darcy Padilla's ‘Julie’ is not only a devastating portrait of a woman enduring the horrors of poverty and addiction but also a legacy of a relationship between subject and photographer that spanned decades.

Paddleball

Colin Robinson

‘My brother and I can’t help but stand out in such a gritty locale.’