Explore essays and memoir
On the Road
‘But I still get homesick, that vast and deep pit in the stomach, every time I go away.’
‘The cortex shrinks where the cells used to be. The spaces in between expand. Islands in the sea of the mind. An archipelago of the former self.’ Sinéad Gleeson on Alzheimer's disease.
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.’
The Recall of Herman Harcourt
‘I had the queer feeling of looking into a mirror of the projected future, of perhaps seeing how easily his fall could be a rehearsal for my own.’
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.’
Eliza Griswold | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘Even in its subtler forms, the act of looking is an act of self-regard.’
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.’
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.’
Water, Water, Everywhere
Darrell Hartman on water: from diving to climate change, hurricanes Irma and Harvey to the advent of ‘Blue Mind’.
Lindsey Hilsum | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘We need a new genre of travel writing, gleaned from the stories refugees and migrants.’
The File: Lost Then Found
‘Even for those of us who feel we have integrated our history, there can be fragments, like shrapnel, that push to the surface without warning.’
A Mingling | State of Mind
‘My empathy may become a vehicle of insight for me and therefore help me to help you or it may debilitate me altogether, make me so sad I am no good to you whatsoever.’
All That Was Familiar
The story of two women fleeing Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria.
Anosh Irani | Notes on Craft
‘The interiority that we keep speaking of in fiction is built on pain’
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.’
Out of the Cell
‘I was inside a silence that was not an absence of noise so much as the living presence of everything I habitually walked – or sleep-walked – past.’
Ian Jack | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘Travel writing of most kinds, not just the humorous, has the history of colonialism perched on its shoulder.’
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.’
I come from a place on your bucket list
Deepti Kapoor on travel, authenticity and the peculiarity of being Indian in Uganda.
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.’
Olivia Laing | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘Which bodies can go where might be the central question of our century.’
Yet Trouble Came
Phillip Lewis on writing emotional autobiography. ‘A sincere observation followed by a sincere utterance is the most powerful and effective form of communication.’
Books Do Furnish a Room
‘The shelves say something about the person who has stocked them; they say much.’
Threshold | State of Mind
‘What we’re about to see is greater than the thing you’re running from.’
Robert Macfarlane | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘The best writers rose to the challenge by seeking not originality of destination, but originality of form.’
The Bonds of Trauma
‘An often-unacknowledged truth about families that deal with addiction is that the bonds of trauma can be as challenging to quit as the habit itself.’
Karan Mahajan | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘Too often, a kind of travel writing – especially the novel set abroad in an exotic locale – feels like a way of allegorizing and escaping problems at home.’
Among the Citizen Soldiers
Karan Mahajan visits Lexington, Virginia – a centre of the Confederary – in the wake of the far-right rally in Charlottesville.
Hallelujah! A Brief History of Bombing People
Ben Mauk on the West’s longstanding love of missiles, drones, bombs and nukes.
‘For my mother and father, the past and present had both become foreign countries.’
Manifestos | Discoveries
A collection of revolutionary writings and manifestos from Audre Lorde, Eileen Myles, Nelson Mandela, James Baldwin and Occupy Wall Street