Explore essays and memoir
Summer with my Grandmother
‘And this was my grandmother, this man-destroying tyrant, this magnificent perfectionist with untireable arms and unfathomable ways of seeing.’
‘I was tempted to let the pages blow overboard and start again...But they have very stern laws about littering at sea.’
‘After dinner and schoolwork and dog-walking and the rest, even if I’d put the light out and laid myself down for definite rest, little ideas and scraps and nonsenses would tickle in and start to shake me. They would make the nights too bright to resist.’
That Whole London Thing
‘But London has always been impossible and yet possible and has always called me.’
Introducing Tatiana Salem Levy
Tatiana Salem Levy is introduced by previous double Best of Young British Novelist, A.L. Kennedy.
A.L. Kennedy | First Sentence
‘I have never seen anyone eat figs in the street and feel I am unsurprised.’
‘Our zoo needed something more thrilling, more dangerous, we had decided. We wanted an adder.’
Today is a Sunny Day
‘For the past ten years I have been trying to write about the events that occurred on 9/11.’
Mother and Father
‘Like most wars, this was a war of the young.’ Thomas Kilroy on his parents’ experience of the Anglo-Irish War and the Irish civil war.
War and Peace on the Big Sandy River
‘Far from the canyons of lower Manhattan or the rugged peaks of Afghanistan, 9/11 led to an unexpected breakthrough in an ancient feud.’
Like We Are
‘My father can speak just fine. Nonetheless, he does not speak to me; nor I to him.’
‘The following are some of the Japanese players who also appeared in the major leagues during the Age of Ichiro.’
Progress in Prague
‘People in the West are aware of the hardship and bewilderment that accompanied the political and economic transformation of central and eastern Europe after 1989.'
Interesting if True
‘The end of the war in the Pacific came just before I left school.’
An Accidental Spy
‘The CIA had become concerned about Soviet influence in India in the early 1960s.’
Hell and Night
‘The implication of Iago’s silence is that there is no hope for his redemption’ Noelle Kocot-Tomblin on ‘Othello’.
‘Early one morning in July 2003 I was woken by a phone call from a young man who I’d known since he was twelve.’
The Fashion of Kathy Acker
An extract from Chris Kraus’s new biography, After Kathy Acker.
Erika Krouse on her work as a private investigator. ‘An escort service was providing prostitutes for football recruits, directly solicited by the university.’
‘In more ways than one, the rituals of death had reminded me that I was an outsider.’
Bookshelves: John Berger in My Family Album
‘The contours of the family arranged on the bookshelf shifted.’
Prague: A Disappearing Poem
‘Prague, this dramatic and suffering centre of Western destiny, is gradually fading away into the mists of Eastern Europe, to which it has never really belonged.’
Paris or Prague?
‘May in Paris was an explosion of revolutionary lyricism. The Prague Spring was the explosion of post-revolutionary scepticism.’
‘There are periods in modern history when life resembles the novels of Kafka.’
A Kidnapped West or Culture Bows Out
‘But since Europe itself is in the process of losing its own cultural identity, it perceives in Central Europe nothing but a political regime; put another way, it sees in Central Europe only Eastern Europe.’
The Story of a Variation
‘I have often heard it said that the novel has already exhausted all its possibilities. I have the opposite impression: that in four hundred years of existence the novel has missed many of its opportunities: it has left many great opportunities unexploited, many roads forgotten, many calls unheard.’
Wild Women, Wild Men
‘When I saw them waiting beside their car, I said, ‘You must be freezing.’ It was cold and foggy, the first night of winter, and the two women had matching short skirts and skimpy tops; their legs were bare.’
‘I shove the script of Sammy and Rosie Get Laid through Stephen Frears's letter box and run. He rings a few hours later: “This isn't an innocent act!”’