Explore essays and memoir
‘When I was seeing Kilty (how, even today, the word 'seeing' mesmerizes me), the fact of my blindness was never mentioned, referred to, or alluded to’.
‘I don’t see him staring back at me from the La-Z-Boy, I see me, I see a crystalline image of my own burned-out soul’
‘Which deaths are tragic and which are not? Who decides what is big and what is little?’
Martin Goodman | Notes on Craft
Martin Goodman on why it took him twenty years to write his latest novel, J SS Bach.
On High Heels and Lotus Feet
Summer Brennan on high heels, foot-binding, and our ongoing performances of gender.
On Meeting Mrs Obama
‘Michelle’s story, while deeply rooted in the American story, speaks to experiences that are universal.’
Pajtim Statovci | Notes on Craft
‘My childhood was pierced not only by the violence in Kosovo but also by the violence my immigrant family was confronted with in Finland.’
Populism and Humour
‘As reality has grown more absurd, the job of satirists has grown harder.’
Radicalisation in the Digital Age
Marc Weitzmann on how radicalisation happens in the digital age.
‘It was through my mother that I grew more aware of my body as incredibly fraught and problematic.‘
‘It was a harsh and brutal puberty: the tiny creatures began to fret, as if an inner sense had forewarned them of the torment in store’
The Fall of Saigon
‘I wanted to see a communist victory, which I presumed to be inevitable. I wanted to see the fall of a city.’
‘Strangely, it was Joseph Conrad who introduced me to Edward Said and not the other way around.’
The Imam and the Indian
‘We were both travelling, he and I: we were travelling in the West. The only difference was that I had actually been there, in person.’
The Nine Circles
‘The body wants to escape suffering at all costs. The body wants to live.’
The Poem in the Pocket
‘The note stated that it was by Borges, and I believed that, or at least I wanted to believe it.’
The Power of a Name
‘When English is the dominant everything, you can’t help wanting to fight for the little speck of the rest of your self.’
The Snow in Ghana
‘We always carry it to foreign countries, all over the world, our pride and our powerlessness.’ Translated from the Polish by William Brand.
The Tension of Transience
‘How unusual that April night had been, yet how normal it had seemed at the time’
The Ungrateful Refugee
‘I was born in 1979, a year of revolution, and grew up in wartime.’ Dina Nayeri on growing up in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
The View from this End
‘It lay like a sodden comma, curled up against its mother, and no one realised it was dead.’
The Zoo in Basel
‘To create is to let take over something which did not exist before and is therefore new.’
Those Who Felt Differently
‘Could grief for one woman have caused all this? We were told so.’
Obsessed with a single line from Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness – Kurtz’s injunction to ‘Exterminate All the Brutes’ – Sven Lindqvist set out across Central Africa, and wrote a book that revealed precisely what Europe’s imperial powers had exacted on Africa’s people over the course of the preceding two centuries.
‘Touch had its own language, and the rules were the opposite of the ones I knew at home.’
Two Keiths and the Wrong Piano
‘My response to the music had reminded me that concealed inside myself was a more excitable and open self raring to get out.’
When We Returned to Pakistan
Bina Shah on growing up in Pakistan. ‘Culture shock was what they called it in those days, but to me it felt like a kidnapping.’
Where is Kigali?
‘Evariste was the nightwatchman. He and I were alone in the house in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, when the killing started.’