"In my experience of writing – and of life – the frenzy of dreams and that of form always go together." Iosi Havilio
April 2015
A legacy like no other

A legacy like no other

Shakespeare has mattered ever since his name first appeared in print in 1593 with his erotic and entertaining poem ‘Venus and Adonis’. He was 29 years old. For much of the poem the goddess of love is naked and begging for sex before Adonis, but he resists her advances. ‘Venus and Adonis’ was a sensation...
Amerika's box

Amerika’s box

The decision to change their five-year-old daughter’s name was a bold one for Ahmed and Fatma to make. Kuwait was, after all, a country tangled in red tape. But like most of their fellow citizens in the year 1991, Ahmed and Fatma wanted to commemorate their nation’s gratitude to America. Fatma was in her late...
Origins

Origins

I really loved the piece of land I grew up on. I spent so much time alone there, looking at the things around me, that sometimes I thought I myself was one of the trees that grew there. I didn’t rule out the possibility that my head might sprout leaves or that mangoes might grow...
Christopher Bollen: Distraction games

Christopher Bollen: Distraction games

Christopher Bollen’s second novel Orient takes its title from the name of the small hamlet on the tip of the North Fork of Long Island. His story begins as summer draws to a close. Mills Chevern, a 19-year-old foster-home kid-turned-drifter who hails from California is taken pity on by Orient native Paul Benchley, a middle-aged...
May-Lan Tan: 'Legendary'

May-Lan Tan: ‘Legendary’

I want things that I read to tattoo me. Like globally significant moments from my lifetime and memory; Mandela’s release, Diana’s death; I can remember where I was when I read fiction that scars me. I like scars, as I like tattoos – they remind me of a particular moment and the associated emotions. They...
Think smarter

Think smarter

Laura Lippman’s latest novel Hush Hush sees her ballsy Baltimore private detective Tess Monaghan as a flustered new parent plunged into a disturbing case involving the death of an infant and a venomous stalker. She shares her tips on maintaining suspense in crime fiction by keeping readers sympathetic, engaged and always on the alert.   1. Don’t be...
The mindful writer

The mindful writer

So you want to be a writer? According to popular mythology, all you need to do is hole up for a weekend or three, drink copious amounts of coffee and/or smoke a lot of cigarettes and put pen to paper. Words of genius will instantly pour out of you. After that comes The Auction, which...
FUKP is the answer – what's the question?

FUKP is the answer – what’s the question?

As we head into a General Election tougher to call than last orders at an Aussie wedding, Free United Kingdom Party leader The Pub Landlord is wooing the good people of South Thanet with the promise of cheaper beer and a common-sense commitment to restoring Britain’s lost hope and glory. Our ordinary punter gets under...
Ghosts that don't say boo

Ghosts that don’t say boo

My new novel A Reunion of Ghosts tells the story of three suicidal sisters whose great grandfather played a role in mass killings in both World Wars. Given such dark subjects, readers tend to express pleasant surprise upon finding that the novel is laced with humor. This reaction makes me happy. A smaller contingent of...
A narrow escape

A narrow escape

The light is incredibly clear today. For the past few days the sky was almost blotted out with snow, but today the sun’s rays penetrate deep down into the sea. The sea’s stormy indigo is ribboning out across its surface, like ink dissolving in water. After that it grows docile, a wild animal newly tamed,...