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About the Cover

Jake and Dinos Chapman

‘My attempts are mocked by the monstrosities that leer up at me from the page.’

According to Your Will

Naomi Alderman

‘Thank you, God,’ said the boys, ‘for not making me a woman.’ ‘Thank you, God,’ said the girls, ‘for making me according to Your will.’

Acts of Infidelity

Lena Andersson

‘Anticipation made it difficult for Ester to swallow.’ Translated from the Swedish by Saskia Vogel.

Advice Column

Kazim Ali

‘Me always untorn and enslaved / Weird notions of gender and ground / Nothing but you between me and god.’

Africa’s Future Has No Space for Stupid Black Men

Pwaangulongii Dauod

‘The night was full of energy. The kind of energy that Africa needs to reinvent itself.’

Afrikaners and the Future

André Brink

‘What is the future of Afrikaners in South Africa?’

After Ann Lauterbach

Emily Critchley

‘The piano eyes me / from its corner – / colluding with the past’

After Caravaggio’s Sacrifice of Isaac

Rachel Cusk

‘It was right after he was born that I started looking at paintings.’

After Effects

Oliverio Coelho

‘Iván tried not to keep still.’

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.’

Aftermath

Rachel Cusk

‘The gears of life had gone into reverse.’

Against Travel Writing

Robyn Davidson

’Shortly after its publication in 1980 I was surprised to learn that I had written a travel book’.

Agamemnon’s Truth

Javier Cercas

‘My name is Javier Cercas, just like you.’

Agnès

René Belletto

‘Having told his story, the thief had said goodbye to Agnès, regretfully, she thought’.

Alexander Chee | Portrait of My Father

Alexander Chee

‘He left for the US while his father was away on business so he couldn’t stop him.’

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.’

All That Follows

Jim Crace

‘Leonard Lessing does not dream of Maxie Lemon, Maxim Lermontov, the hostage­-taker.’

Alpes Maritimes

William Boyd

‘From the small terrace at Cherry's villa there is a perfect view of Villefranche and its bay, edged by the bright beads of the harbour lights and headlamps of cars on the coast road.’

Alphabet City

Geoffrey Biddle

‘When I first worked here, the neighbourhood was not called Alphabet City. It was the Puerto Rican part of the Lower East Side and the Puerto Ricans called it Loisaida, low-ee-SIGH-da, a new York-Puerto Rican version of Lower East Side.’

America’s Secret War

Leslie Cockburn

‘Morales’s troubles began in the spring of 1984, when he was indicted for conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine. It was this awkward development that made him particularly receptive to the proposal he received from a delegation of Contras and a CIA man that turned up at his Opa-locka office soon after the bad news.’

Amit Chaudhuri | First Sentence

Amit Chaudhuri

‘A scene in which nothing is ostensibly happening will absorb me; so will a paragraph that contains no vital piece of information.’

Amy Bloom | Five Things Right Now

Amy Bloom

Amy Bloom shares five things she’s reading, watching and thinking about right now.

An Ofrenda for my Mother

Sandra Cisneros

‘She was a prisoner-of-war mother, banging on the bars of her cell all her life.’

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.’

An Education

Lynn Barber

‘Alan was adept at not answering questions, but actually he rarely needed to, because I never asked them.’

An Irrelevant Parochialism

Frederick Bowers

‘What strikes an ex-patriate most about the contemporary British novel is its conformity, its traditional sameness, and its realistically rendered provincialism.’

An Island Presence

Howard Cunnell

‘I can almost believe in the permanence of these warm days, this unchanging child whose hand fits mine. But I can feel the cold and the darkness coming.’

And Never Come Up

John Biguenet

‘Was there a story? Yes, there was always a story .Did you write this one down? I've written them all down’.

And Yet

Brian Evenson

‘She had waited expectantly for him to tell her a story to illustrate this, and to explain what those values were, but as with so many other things he had left it at that. It lingered in the air, waiting for her to pluck it up, but she had simply let it hang.’

Anecdotes

Ann Beattie

‘Christine’s hair had begun to dry, and she looked different, with her hair down and her glasses on. Her earnestness made her look younger, and took me back to the bar where we’d sat in Pennsylvania years ago.’

Animalia

Jean-Baptiste Del Amo

An excerpt from Animalia by Jean-Baptiste Del Amo, translated from the French by Frank Wynne.

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.’

Annawadi

Katherine Boo

In 2007 Katherine Boo travelled to Annawadi – a slum built on Mumbai Airport land – to document the lives of the families living there.

Antediluvian

John Biguenet

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

Anthony Bailey | A London View

Anthony Bailey

I come from a generation which still, fifty-odd years on, looks up and once in a while thinks, 'Good, one of ours.'