"If you need to lie, you need superfluous detail. A lie constructed in a laboratory will mention only the essential things, but the superfluous indicates real living.” – Boris Fishman
The eternal rocks

The eternal rocks

Sally Green is the author of Half Bad, about one boy’s struggle for survival in a hidden society of witches, published by Penguin last March and now sold in 50 languages. As her new Half Bad e-story is unveiled, she gives us the lowdown on her working space and practices....
Better than love

Better than love

“‘For too many years,’” Max recited, “‘women have been excluded from the full pleasure available to them in their bodies.’” He was reading from a printed sheet of paper. A press release. “‘I believe, as do many medical professionals, that a large proportion of chronic mental and physical ailments beset...
Other people's stories

Other people’s stories

Reading other people’s stories for discussion in a workshop, you will need to decide whether or not the piece succeeds as literary fiction, which elements of the present version do and do not work well, and what revisions might result in a more successful story. Then you will need to...
Believable lies

Believable lies

Boris Fishman’s engaging debut novel A Replacement Life offers a critical and affectionate portrait of the Russian-American immigrant community that clusters around South Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach. Slava Gelman is a lowly hack on a New Yorker-style magazine whose grandfather suggests an outrageous writing assignment: to forge a Holocaust restitution claim....
A bookshop like no other

A bookshop like no other

Ah, Paris. The city of love and food and books. Abundant with literary cafés and penniless poets. Home of Le Procope, the city’s oldest restaurant still trading, founded in 1686, where Voltaire is supposed to have drunk forty cups of coffee a day. Also home to Bar Hemingway, at the...
The wraith

The wraith

Carl Blunt was fully aware when he married her that Lurene was an unhappy woman, and he’d had no illusions about the possibility of her ever changing. She had told him as much when they met: “I’m not happy,” she’d said, on their second date, a dinner followed by a...
Pretending to wait for someone

Pretending to wait for someone

Wanting to be Tinkerbell and take you in my arms— pearly pink flat shoes After seeing you off this morning, I glance at my toothpaste tube— the dent in it is new Sharing in the sun with you summer’s first tomato, skin firm yet delicate He loved another first— and...
Gifted

Gifted

When the nurses handed me my son, I couldn’t believe how perfect he was. Ben was so robust, nearly fifty inches tall, including horns and tail. Even the doula was impressed. “My God,” she said. “My holy God in heaven.” Alan and I knew instantly that our child was exceptional....
A resounding peace

A resounding peace

Irene and I reached a point where we overdosed on silence, although not long before it had seemed normal to us to be surrounded by sound. Not a single thought about the importance of sound or of its absence had ever crossed our minds. Our research into silence had its...
Captain Coconut

Captain Coconut

Captain Coconut is a one-of-a-kind Indian detective, ready to solve any mystery, large or small. In his debut adventure The Case of the Missing Bananas – the first in a planned series – we follow the Captain as he moves from his office to the scene of crime, his powerful...
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....
Latest entries
Perseus and the Gorgons

Perseus and the Gorgons

Perseus’ meeting with Hermes had bolstered up his spirits, and he came to the mountain where the three Graeae lived feeling confident. The air was scalding hot and a cloud of dust rose at each step he took. The closer he approached, the more the landscape turned grey. The rays of the sun did not...
The untelling

The untelling

The early morning light filters through the empty bottles which clutter our caravan’s kitchen table. The light stains my nightdress with blotches of blue, green and red, and I lean over the back of a chair, waiting, breathing. The chair is a cast-off from Gil’s mother, and I see that on the vinyl seat there...
Lines in the Ice: Seeking the Northwest Passage

Lines in the Ice: Seeking the Northwest Passage

Just a matter of weeks after the long-anticipated discovery of Sir John Franklin’s lost ship HMS Erebus, the British Library looks back on 400 years of fascination with the fabled Northwest Passage. From Charles II’s lavish personal atlas to 19th-century woodcut illustrations and wooden maps crafted by Inuit communities, Lines in the Ice features material from Europe, Canada and...
The Cornhill Magazine and Framley Parsonage

The Cornhill Magazine and Framley Parsonage

Soon after my return from the West Indies1 I was enabled to change my district in Ireland for one in England. For some time past my official work had been of a special nature, taking me out of my own district; but through all that, Dublin had been my home, and there my wife and children...
The power of leaves

The power of leaves

We live in an age of speed, expedience, brief thoughts and long illusions; we relish fast images, swift exchanges of truncated words, and hurried displacement; we rejoice in monumental structures, ideas, endeavours. News, whether of catastrophe or joy, races through our minds or past our eyes like flashes of lightning; we claim to experience life...
It was the books in his head that killed Michael

It was the books in his head that killed Michael

I knew I had a sickness, knew something wasn’t right, took me years to figure it out. And then, it was too late. Always too late. A head full of words all queuing up to get out, stories fighting among themselves, dreaming of the white page and me taking to the drink for solace because...
Dear Katherine

Dear Katherine

My father was a great reader. He often sat in his blue armchair in the corner of the living room, legs crossed at the knee, sipping a glass of ginger ale, reading a book. One evening when I was fifteen, I looked in on him and asked if he had something he might recommend for...
Sitting tight

Sitting tight

Publication week, and surfing the exhilarated, semi-anxious state of having a book launched into the world. We cracked a bottle – okay, more than one – across the bows of Getting Colder on Monday… marking the beginning of the uncertain voyage any book takes. In my other job, as a screenwriter, seeing your work go out...
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...