The Royal African Society takes a look back at the history of the Africa Writes festival, their annual celebration of contemporary literature from Africa and the diaspora.
These prints from Gunnar Smoliansky's Diary consolidated his position as a major photographer.
The Man Who Lived
Snigdha Poonam on how WhatsApp is being used to encourage mob violence in India.
Oh, the Obvious
‘A wizened spring, the sickly prickly pear and organ pipe cacti were so riddled with holes they might have been targets.’
The Duchess of Albany
‘The permanence of his absence is a noise she hears when she listens to how quiet.’
‘Last year father attacked me as a “wet radish”. This caused me to give up writing diary entries.’
‘The time of the Perseids never varied. That was why Dante’s mother had taught him the stars.’
‘In my crumbling country every day, / people spend their lives standing in lines / to buy designer sneakers.’
The Editor’s Chair: On Svetlana Alexievich
‘It is clear when reading Svetlana Alexievich that she has a deep empathy for the characters whose stories she tells.’
Painter to the King
This is an excerpt from Painter to the King, Amy Sackville's account of the life of Diego Velázquez. Now available from Granta Books.
‘Imagine all the prodigal / People, hoping only to / Escape every human mistake.’
In the Valley of Coachella
Novelist Susan Straight and photographer Douglas McCulloh on the presidential streets of the ‘real’ Coachella
Fishes and Dragons
An excerpt from ‘Fishes and Dragons’ a Lithuanian literary chinoiserie that addresses the interpretation by a European of Qing dynasty culture and art.
Pay for Your Words
Peter Pomerantsev downloads his Facebook data. ‘We seem to be caught in a trap: the more we use a word, the more we will be charged for it.’
Our Donald: A Sex Story
‘Ducks are very sexual creatures. Domestic ducks, unlike wild ones, are polygamous.’
'I didn't start out a writer, and had no plans of becoming one.' Tatyana Tolstaya, translated from the Russian by Anya Migdal
Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned
‘Thanks to the easy wind bellying our sails, we crossed fast and sighted the island six days early.’
'Andy doesn't like any of the names for what he does. He rejects 'impersonator', and resists 'tribute act', although he knows it comes closest.' From Chris Power's exceptional collection of short fiction, Mothers
‘the earth will heal / eventually / magnificently / when our species / is gone’
‘Europe awoke to a freezing post-war dawn. The winter of 1947 was the worst ever recorded.’
The Last Children of Tokyo
‘Encountering a real animal – not just its name – would have set Mumei’s heart on fire.’ Translated from the Japanese by Margaret Mitsutani.
‘A man-eating tiger was on the prowl when I arrived in Pilibhit one rainy evening in September.’
The Trickster Creates the World
'A Q&A session exploring the writing process with novelist Eden Robinson, her muse Marvin and myself, Fictional Eden Robinson'
All the Devils Are Here
‘A seaside shelter in the middle of autumn – it seems a strange choice.’
Rachel Reaches Out
‘She hit send and sighed as the email-whoosh came through her headphones. Theo was sitting at his desk less than six metres away.’