Explore essays and memoir


El Salvador: An Aide-Mémoire

Carolyn Forché

‘Between 1978 and 1981 I travelled between the United States and Salvador, writing reports on the war waiting to happen, drawing blueprints from memory, naming the dead.’

Where Does Writing Come From?

Richard Ford

‘Occasionally if pushed or annoyed I'll come right out and say it: I make these little buggers up, that's what. So sue me’.

On Harley-Davidson

Richard Ford

‘Jack Nicholson, I've heard, used to own one. And I understand why.’

Between Them

Richard Ford

‘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.’


Aminatta Forna

‘What happened in 1979 has happened many times before and many times since, in places where people have set themselves free and believed with all their hearts that the freedom they had fought for was real and lasting, only to be recaptured.’

The Last Vet

Aminatta Forna

‘Jalloh likes to keep accurate records of such things. After all, nobody else does.’


Adam Foulds

‘The thrill of this film – and it is thrilling – is seeing that understood and played out by actors of incredible skill.’

Forklift Truck Driver Wins Literary Prize!

Adam Foulds

‘There are two options for the young writer and employment. There is the proper job, whatever it might be – law, advertising, medicine or the default choice for many, academia. Or there’s the menial, rent-paying job.’


Adam Foulds

‘Swifts come closer than any other creature to living in the sky and having air and ceaseless movement as their home.’

The French Lieutenant’s Diary

John Fowles

‘It was really just one visual idea: a woman standing at the end of the Cobb and staring mysteriously out to sea.’

Words and the Word

Miranda France

Miranda France on how C.S. Lewis and T.S. Eliot redrafted the Anglican Book of Common Prayer.

Shackleton’s Medical Kit

Gavin Francis

‘Each box was like the distillation of all that we have learned as a species about our bodies and their infirmities, a time capsule of medicine at the start of the twenty-first century.’

The Third Pole

Gavin Francis

‘I came to the Himalayas not because of a dream of mountains or of animals, but because of a map.’

Dreams of Reason

Ruth Franklin

‘We know that nightmares are unreal, yet they torment us all the same.’

Bone Litter

Marian Botsford Fraser

‘'Hey, I saw an Inuk once with a hat that said: INSTANT ASSHOLE. JUST ADD ALCOHOL'.’

Introduction: Best of Young British Novelists 4

John Freeman

‘We live in unreaderly times, but our belief is that these novelists will be exceptions to the general rule of irrelevance faced by writers today.’

Louise Bourgeois as I Knew Her

Jean Frémon

‘The portrait is built up of tiny strokes, one added upon another, like dashes of pencil.’ Translated from the French by Cole Swensen.

First Catch Your Puffin

Sean French

‘A man is rescued after years stranded on a desert island with two companions, one of whom died.’

Patrick French | First Sentence

Patrick French

‘In Edwardian days, if you were growing up in England (though Maurice was from Ireland) your life was regimented.’

Borges and Me, and Me

Rodrigo Fresán

‘What would be the point of writing anything if I went down in history as the person who killed Borges?’

Notes Toward the Memoirs of a Book Thief

Rodrigo Fresán

‘There’s never enough money to buy all the books we need to read or simply admire, hold, caress, knowing that we have them, that they’re ours.’

Nell Freudenberger | God and Me

Nell Freudenberger

‘When I was seven, I sat down to draw God. God wore a pirate shirt, purple harem pants and a red fez.’

The Survivals of Lafcadio Hearn

Kenny Fries

‘Did Hearn feel comfortable in Japan because being a foreigner overshadowed his physical difference?’

Switzerland Without an Army?

Max Frisch

‘Why should Switzerland of all places have no army? It costs billions and billions, but we can afford it.’

The Abyss

Rebekah Frumkin

‘I came home this past fall to the Chicago suburb where I’d lived with my parents from age nine until I left for college in 2008, and I moved back into my childhood bedroom.’

American Maniac

Rebekah Frumkin

‘I would peel wrappers off sandwiches, remove noodles from their boxes, fry up meat before any authorities had the chance to track me and my bounty down.’

The Discovery of Mexico

Carlos Fuentes

‘I was born on 11 November 1928, under the sign I would have chosen, Scorpio, and on a date shared with Dostoevsky, Crommelynck and Vonnegut.’

The View from this End

Alexandra Fuller

‘It lay like a sodden comma, curled up against its mother, and no one realised it was dead.’

Lost Cat

Mary Gaitskill

‘Which deaths are tragic and which are not? Who decides what is big and what is little?’

Raymond Carver, 1938 to 1988

Tess Gallagher

‘We were married in Reno, Nevada. It was a very Carveresque affair, held in the little Heart of Reno Chapel across from the courthouse. Afterwards we went gambling at Harrah's Club and with every turn of the wheel I won. I couldn't stop winning.’

Memory and Invention

Mavis Gallant

‘When I happened to be working all day, every day, on a story set in the Paris of 1953, I was stunned and bewildered to step outside and discover the shape of the cars, the casual clothing and clean facades of the 1990s.’

This is Not About Me

Janice Galloway

‘My mother thought I was the menopause.’

We’re Not in This Together

Janice Galloway

‘Abstain was the only advice we were getting.’

Physics and Bonkology

Janice Galloway

‘Sex Education, like winning the pools, was something that did not happen to us.’

Crocodiles and Fairy Dust

Janice Galloway

‘I admit the sneaking feeling, just now and then, that those who govern us think we’re the problem.’

The Politics of Grief

V. V. Ganeshananthan

‘It is a way of humiliating people, to say that their dead are not dead, to say that people are not even allowed to mourn.’