‘Without waiting for me she removes her white shirt. Each button a piece of my own spine, undone.’
An extract from Mrs S by K Patrick.
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‘She rings a tiny cymbal over your body. She says, The experience is finished now.’
A story by Yara Rodrigues Fowler.
‘I followed him onto the dancefloor and he put his hands on my hips as if he’d known me for at least an hour.’
Fiction by Saba Sams.
The Termite Queen
‘It dawned on her, the fact sliding ice-cold into her body; now that she had crossed the border into her forties, Alma herself was no longer eligible for the scheme.’
An excerpt from Olivia Sudjic’s third novel.
‘Certainly this kind of thing just happened sometimes – it was a glitch, an unfortunate error, and could happen to anyone.’
Fiction by Eley Williams.
‘The stone is cold; touching a leaf is like touching skin.’
A botanist’s assistant longs for her lover in this extract from The Weeds.
‘I miss his body, the blank shine of it. I miss the clean blue bib.’
A story by Suzie Bovenzi.
Close to Home
‘I thought about how I had tricked everyone into thinking I was hard, that I could handle myself, without ever having to throw a punch.’
An extract from Close to Home by Michael Magee.
Animals After Dark
‘I was not a strong mayor. I was an email. I was a little bit high.’
A short story by Avigayl Sharp.
Of Cattle and Men
‘No one goes unpunished. They’re men of cattle and blood.’
An extract from Of Cattle and Men by Ana Paula Maia, translated by Zoë Perry.
The Gospel According to the New World
‘Our Father had perhaps two sons and sent her the younger one.’
An excerpt from The Gospel According to the New World, by Maryse Condé, translated from the French by Richard Philcox.
Husband Number Five
‘I’ve been cruel to my mother all my life. Relentlessly hitting on her new boyfriend was barely remarkable.’
Fiction by Emily Adrian.
‘Some nights he hurt her which made her glad; she never let him know because the pain was brief and rare and felt like penance.’
An extract from Oxblood by Tom Benn.