"Hwang Sok-yong has a knack of presenting us with stories that look like the simple jottings of an idle, curious man... yet each phrase almost is invested with the power of a parable." Mika Provata-Carlone
Oyinkan Braithwaite: Blood sisters

Oyinkan Braithwaite: Blood sisters

If the title hasn’t already won you over, the opening lines hook you right in: “Ayoola summons me with these words – Korede, I killed him. I had hoped I would never hear those words again.” Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel My Sister, the Serial Killer is a pacy, macabre and...
John Lanchester: Behind the barricades

John Lanchester: Behind the barricades

John Lanchester’s The Wall is a dystopian vision of post-climate-collapse Britain. As the seas have risen, all the world’s beaches and low-lying communities have been submerged, and vast displaced populations are cast adrift on the oceans in a perilous search of safe harbour. In common with other still-habitable territories, Britain’s...
Wedding plans

Wedding plans

Mrs Binat’s ambitions for her daughters were fairly typical: groom them into marriageable material and wed them off to no less than princes and presidents. Before their fall, her husband had always assured her that, no matter what a mess Alys or any of the girls became, they would fare...
Just sittin’ here doin’ time

Just sittin’ here doin’ time

When my mother got home, the four of us would head out to dinner, and twice my sister, Rachel, joined us. It felt sometimes like it was the old days again, and other times a little strained, as though we were in a play about a family who all hold...
Fantasia in F minor

Fantasia in F minor

Breathless, they sank into the armchairs in the Great Room. While Lenny, shaken by a new coughing fit, gasped for air, Hermin began a feverish search for a subject, any subject, capable of guaranteeing a normal conversation. The silence must not be allowed to drag on and on again; topics...
Claire Fuller: The female gaze

Claire Fuller: The female gaze

Claire Fuller’s third novel Bitter Orange is a delicious read that lingers in the reader’s subconscious long after the final page is turned. It’s the summer of 1969 and Frances, Peter and Cara are camping out at Lyntons, a once-grand, neoclassical mansion that they’re surveying for its new American owner....
The sins of our future

The sins of our future

Many years ago, a young boy from an affluent Egyptian family was travelling with his parents by train to their summer house somewhere deep down the valley of the River Nile. This was a journey he had made many times as he grew older. Each time, the curtains of their...
Cats on the page

Cats on the page

Cats on the Page brings familiar and much-loved feline favourites together with the eclectic and unexpected to celebrate the myriad ways in which cats have captured the cultural imagination for hundreds of years. Through an array of poetry, artwork, fables and fairy tales from around the world, this free exhibition,...
Hatchet job

Hatchet job

Yes, of course, I know my rights. I have the right to remain silent. I have the right to talk to an attorney. If I can’t afford an attorney, one will be appointed for me. Yes, I know. In fact, I’m sure every halfwit kid with a TV for a...
A hunger artist

A hunger artist

In the past few decades public interest in the art of fasting has drastically declined. While it used to be very profitable to put on big, stand-alone exhibitions, doing so today would be completely impossible. It was another time. Back then, the whole city would get caught up in what...
Animal

Animal

Animal: Exploring the Zoological World is a visually stunning and broad-ranging exploration and celebration of humankind’s ongoing fascination with the world’s remarkable fauna. Since our very first moments on earth, we have been compelled to make images of the curious beasts around us – whether as sources of food, danger,...
Shadows and elevations

Shadows and elevations

With his camera and notebook, Jack London circles Hawksmoor’s Christ Church. He does not look up at the portico, the threatening mass of columns, ledges and alcoves. The Mayan dagger of the steeple. He does not step beyond the defensive railings. He stays outside. A photograph from distance, in which...
Latest entries
Pride, prejudice and parathas

Pride, prejudice and parathas

When I was fourteen years old, my Aunt Helen gave me my first Jane Austen novel, a beautiful red and gold hardback of Pride and Prejudice. I remember climbing onto my bed one summer afternoon in Lahore, the heat tempered by the roar of the AC, and settling down with this new read. It is...
New directions of our past

New directions of our past

It used to be that as a year came to a close and a new one began, an unwritten law beyond remembrance or time also called for acts of similar closure and commencement on our part. A little before, or perhaps slightly after the virtual timekeeping of our humanity went through its annual rites of...
A remarkable woman

A remarkable woman

As I made the final corrections to the proofs of my debut novel Attend, I was asked by my publisher whether I wanted to include a dedication. Having toyed with some names – a few people in my life I thought might fit the bill, the idea came to me that I should dedicate this...
William Ryan: Seeking answers to the darkness

William Ryan: Seeking answers to the darkness

William Ryan’s historical thriller A House of Ghosts has been receiving high praise in the press and from readers. I’m willing to bet the stunning cover design, featuring an embossed gold-leaf image of Blackwater Abbey, has played a part in the novel’s success. Stars flicker in the night sky and stylised rays of light fan...
Kingly reads and mistletoes, yule logs, childish games and silent nights

Kingly reads and mistletoes, yule logs, childish games and silent nights

As the year 2018 draws to a dumbfounding or resounding close, the words to speak the tales of both tragedy and joy become perhaps the most precious of gifts. Especially for young – or not so young – ears and eyes searching for a meaningful narrative, a thread of sense through a life whose text...
German Calendar No December

German Calendar No December

German Calendar No December is a candid and reflective coming-of-age tale about learning to navigate the world with the help of good music, good books, good friends and a touch of courage. Olivia Evezi’s childhood is a happy one; her days are spent listening to highlife records and poring over colourful postcards from her mother’s...
Sensations and sensibilities

Sensations and sensibilities

Imogen Hermes Gowar’s debut novel The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock is a spellbinding and widely acclaimed tale of curiosities, desires, seduction and obsession, centring around the docks, coffee shops, parlours and brothels of late 18th-century London. She offers a peek inside her southeast London home on a typical writing day. Where are you now? On...
Sons of the jungle

Sons of the jungle

Flanking the procession of those who only recently crossed the great border, tramping beneath the thin, constant drizzle of rain that has begun to muddy the paths through the jungle, the two boys who were born here and who live nearby move at a brisk pace, without approaching or speaking to each other: travelling with...
The soothsayer

The soothsayer

A courtyard, a fountain, a pond with small grey fish. Around it walls, columns, a cloister. At its centre a staircase leads all the way up to the four stoutest columns bearing a roof inscribed with golden lettering. Flame, undo that which is ephemeral. Liberated is the eternal. I climb the steps, pause in front...
The mountain king

The mountain king

In the popular imagination, German history, culture and even reality closes down in 1918 with the end of WWI, the end of the German Empire and its Central European logic, the end of all order based on the authority of hereditary power, received structures, hierarchies, even typography. A strange, fantastical interlude begins, officially called the...