“It's hard to see people from your past when your present is so cataclysmically screwed up." – Judd Altman, from This Is Where I Leave You
How to end a marriage

How to end a marriage

Jonathan Tropper’s hilarious and heartbreaking novel about family ties and confrontations, This Is Where I Leave You is now a major film directed by Shawn Levy and starring Jason Bateman, Tina Fey and Jane Fonda. Read an extract from the novel and enter our competition to win some great prizes....
Dangerous for ordinary people

Dangerous for ordinary people

It takes great determination and mettle to give voice to silence; to look at closely, and truly see what has become invisible or been reduced to transparency. Louisa Treger evinces both purpose and mettle, deep knowledge and fine understanding in The Lodger, her debut novel about the writer Dorothy Richardson,...
Best of Enemies Vol 2: 1953–1984

Best of Enemies Vol 2: 1953–1984

The second volume of Jean-Pierre Filiu and David B.’s graphic novel history of US-Middle East relations begins in the 1950s with the Eisenhower Doctrine and ends with the fallout from the suicide bombing of the US Embassy in Beirut. This turbulent era of US-led intervention also saw the Suez Crisis,...
From page to screen

From page to screen

The hype around the release of Gone Girl is a useful reminder that around half the top-grossing films of the last two decades have been literary adaptations. Bringing a well-loved book to the big screen is relatively risk-free, and this is reflected in the programme of the London Film Festival,...
The cruise of the Allegra

The cruise of the Allegra

It was my first winter cruise. I was a waiter on the Allegra, most of the passengers well-to-do people who spent part of the winter cruising in the warm waters of the Pacific, from Puerto Escondido to Singapore and back, including stops in Australia and New Zealand. That winter we...
Smoke and mirrors

Smoke and mirrors

Mira Jacob’s sumptuous debut novel The Sleepwalker’s Guide to Dancing is a heartbreaking and hilarious story of a family in flux in the heat of a New Mexico summer. Basking in positive reviews and attention, she reveals that life as an overnight literary sensation is not always as it seems....
Labyrinth

Labyrinth

To mark the 150th anniversary of the London Underground, Turner Prize-winning artist Mark Wallinger was commissioned to create a permanent work of public art across the entire network. In each of the Underground’s 270 stations, he placed a uniquely designed labyrinth, an ancient symbol representing spiritual and imaginative voyages akin...
In two words

In two words

Michelle Haimoff’s debut novel These Days Are Ours is a witty and reflective story of a group of bright young things trying to make sense of life and love in post-9/11 New York. The action shifts when the main protagonist Hailey finds herself attracted to a man who seems like...
Blood, Bible, Brer Rabbit and The Bear

Blood, Bible, Brer Rabbit and The Bear

In my neck of the woods, so to speak – the southern United States – the question is often posed, especially by people who are from away: “Why is there such a rich literary tradition in a region known to most of the world (those who know it at all)...
Latest entries
Nina Stibbe: Out of the box

Nina Stibbe: Out of the box

Nina Stibbe’s first book Love, Nina, a collection of letters written when she was a nanny in the 198os, was the surprise publishing hit of 2013. Andrew O’Hagan called her “The funniest new writer to arrive in years.” In Love, Nina she mentions writing a (semi-autobiographical) novel as part of her polytechnic course. After the...
Rainstorm

Rainstorm

You could bang your fist on the earth as you might bang it on the table. We’ve been waiting so long for the fight to begin. For days and days the sky had been filled with a heavy lead and a heat that stunted the horizon, shackled the wind, and made people and animals feel...
After the euphoria, the finances

After the euphoria, the finances

Recently I went to the launch night of a literary journal here in Dublin. As is the way with these things, as soon as the readings and speech were done, we all sighed with relief and headed next door to the pub. I was introduced to the author of a novel I had read and...
Chekhov’s mongoose and the elusive orange

Chekhov’s mongoose and the elusive orange

“Now, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life.” Charles Dickens, Hard Times (1854) We at QI have taken the opening lines of Dickens’s shortest novel to heart. Our latest book contains nothing but facts, facts, facts: 1,411 times over. The book covers a huge range of...
Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination

Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination

This major new exhibition at the British Library explores Gothic culture’s roots in British literature and celebrates 250 years since the publication of the first Gothic novel, Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto. Alongside the manuscripts of classic novels such as Frankenstein, Dracula and Jane Eyre, Terror and Wonder brings the dark and macabre to...
Martin Rowson draws up a storm

Martin Rowson draws up a storm

Martin Rowson’s political cartoons for the Guardian, The Mirror and other papers are visually bold and acutely scathing of our MPs’ pitiful attempts to run the country. As we meet around the time of the shaky Scottish independence referendum, he is entertainingly  candid about his run-ins with those in power. Mark R: Looking back over...
Crime and puzzlement

Crime and puzzlement

The reader was at first surprised, then shocked, as the criminal Raskolnikov was abruptly slain in the middle of the street, right before her eyes. Sonya, the hooker with the heart of gold, shot him through the heart. It happened midway through an essay on the Dostoevsky classic. The reader’s name was Ella Amanda Milana....
News from elsewhere

News from elsewhere

Here a list of books that are set in various locations in the developing world. It includes both fiction and non-fiction – and novels inspired by factual events. There is a heartbreaking true story from the Khmer Rouge period in Cambodia, and another written by British journalist and war correspondent Jon Swain, who was immortalised...
Recompense

Recompense

“Something I need you to look at,” Grandfather said, pointing to the bedroom. “We’re both tired. Let’s do it another day,” Slava said, wanting to return to the living room. “Another day with you?” Grandfather said. “Another day with you is a year from now. The deadline is soon. It’ll take only a moment.” Grandfather...
Observers and dreamers

Observers and dreamers

We gave Tom Barbash the task of winnowing down his ten favourite short stories. “Impossible,” he countered, “but here are some great ones that came to mind.”   Alice Munro: ‘Chance’ A young woman on a cross-country train trip decides to decline polite conversation with an affable stranger. From this seemingly minor moment a series...