Explore essays and memoir
Monster | State of Mind
‘Today’s a day for you to feel blocked and impeded; a coward in work and love; resenting duty; suspecting pleasure.’
On Jesus’ Son
‘Jesus’ Son is a song, a glorious clear hymn, full of the notes of bad decisions, of rotten fucking luck, of causing real and lasting damage to yourself and to the people around you.’
All That Was Familiar
The story of two women fleeing Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria.
‘It was my child’s outlook to think most things were right. And yet if life’s eternal drama is of events seeking a more perfect state, their life and mine was not that.’
Vinyl Road Trip
After an unexpected email, David Flusfeder heads to Detroit to discover his father’s history and the world of vinyl manufacturing.
Lindsey Hilsum | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘We need a new genre of travel writing, gleaned from the stories refugees and migrants.’
Well Done, No. 3777!
‘I grew up in the semi-tropical south, dotted by wet paddy fields, but I always wanted to go to the north.’
On the Road
‘But I still get homesick, that vast and deep pit in the stomach, every time I go away.’
Ian Jack | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘Travel writing of most kinds, not just the humorous, has the history of colonialism perched on its shoulder.’
Pico Iyer | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘The writer on place has to go further inward, into the realm of silence and nuance and personal enquiry.’
Mohsin Hamid | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘I have come to believe that we are all migrants, that the experience of migration unites all human beings.’
Eliza Griswold | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘Even in its subtler forms, the act of looking is an act of self-regard.’
Spiders from Jerusalem
‘When the Holy Family was fleeing from Jerusalem, spiders wove such a thick web around the road that the swords of Herod’s soldiers couldn’t pierce it.’
Best Book of 1766: Strange Tales From a Chinese Studio by Pu Songling
Dave Haysom on why Strange Tales From a Chinese Studio by Pu Songling is the best book of 1766.
Best Book of 1967: Ice by Anna Kavan
‘What a writer, and what a vision. What a perfect book to read in preparation for the end of the world.’
Best book of 1947: L’Écume des Jours by Boris Vian
‘In those spring nights, I sat by barbecue stalls in the streets of Beijing, reading this novel under dim streetlights while eating lamb skewers.’
Words and the Word
Miranda France on how C.S. Lewis and T.S. Eliot redrafted the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.
Best Book of 1993: Written on the Body
‘Influences imprint themselves on our consciousness as light does a photograph, or trauma the psyche’
The Binoculars of Jah
‘No matter how I attempted to interpret the email, it could only be read in one way: I was out of the Bunny Wailer club. Jah Bunny had put a curse on me.’
The Sufferings of this Present Time Are Not Worthy to Be Compared With the Glory Which Shall Be Revealed in Us
‘Every sect needs jargon. We did not have churches, we had halls; services were called meetings; the congregation was the assembly; elders were overseers’
Teaching After Trump
‘In a country whose government we do not trust, who do we need more than writers and teachers? And what is more powerful than an inspired youth?’
The Day After Trump Won
‘I feel afraid, and I do not know what to make of yesterday’s belief. I can see that belief like an object shimmering underwater, a kind of relic.’
‘They knelt at my feet. They crawled naked across gleaming wooden floors.’
Crocodiles and Fairy Dust
‘I admit the sneaking feeling, just now and then, that those who govern us think we’re the problem.’
The Price of Freedom, Including VAT
‘I had lost my native country, now I was going to lose a continent.’
Raqqa Road: A Syrian Escape
‘The morning Helin walked out to die, she dressed carelessly in a loose T-shirt and jeans.’
Blue Hills and Chalk Bones
‘One day, something changes; a corporeal blip. For me, it happened in the months after turning thirteen: the synovial fluid in my left hip began to evaporate like rain.’
On Shakespeare and the Quest for Belonging
‘We may not belong to Shakespeare, nor he to us, ever.’
The Mask of Night
‘I puzzled over the language but disentangled its meaning slowly, carefully, eager to connect’ Lorna Gibb on Shakespeare’s Juliet.
To Thine Own Self Be True
‘If Shakespeare’s characters stand for anything, it’s for a slipperiness of identity.’ David Flusfeder on a dog named Shakespeare.
‘It is to Shakespeare’s pages I return whenever I feel I am sinking. There I can be sure to find a lifeline.’