"Good writing, for me, usually comes from groping around in the dark." J. Robert Lennon
Interviews
Hari Kunzru: Between the grooves

Hari Kunzru: Between the grooves

It’s Hari Kunzru’s first press trip to London for a few years, this time to discuss his fifth novel, White Tears. It’s that rare beast: a novel of ideas that is also a transfixing thriller. The morning after he arrives from New York, we meet in a room just off the lobby of his hotel...
Juliet West: Back to black

Juliet West: Back to black

Juliet West’s second novel The Faithful is a love story set during Britain’s brief dalliance with fascism in the 1930s, and a tale of two mothers set on distinct paths. I chat to her about the book’s key issues and themes, and how she approached researching and recreating the era. CF: I love the title...
Samanta Schweblin: Passion and terror

Samanta Schweblin: Passion and terror

Samanta Schweblin is an acclaimed Argentinian short-story writer whose compact debut novel Fever Dream is shortlisted for the 2017 Man Booker International Prize. A disorientating and utterly gripping psychological thriller and an unsettling exploration of family ties, panic and dread, it is told in spare dialogue between a woman called Amanda who lies dying in...
Jon McGregor: The long and short of it

Jon McGregor: The long and short of it

Although it begins with the disappearance of a young girl while holidaying with her family in a Peak District village, Jon McGregor’s Reservoir 13 deliberately fails to resolve whatever accident or crime may have occurred, and instead explores how such an event lives on in the collective memory of a small, close-knit community. As months...
Bret Anthony Johnston: Tricks at the top

Bret Anthony Johnston: Tricks at the top

Bret Anthony Johnston has won the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award with his story ‘Half of What Atlee Rouse Knows About Horses’, a touching meditation on memory and loss that weaves together significant moments from the life of an 80-year-old Texan through the prism of the three great loves of his life: his wife,...
Mohsin Hamid: Moving on

Mohsin Hamid: Moving on

Mohsin Hamid’s latest novel Exit West imagines a world in which war refugees and economic migrants have the chance to break for safety by passing through supernatural black doors that serve as wormholes to wealthier countries. It’s a magical conceit that fast-forwards the likely exoduses of the coming decades, and intensifies the human dramas of...
Tim Murphy: Shouting out

Tim Murphy: Shouting out

Published last year in the US, and now here in the UK, if you haven’t already heard of Tim Murphy’s novel Christodora, let this be your tip-off. Not least because Paramount TV have bought the rights and they’ve hired Ira Sachs and Mauricio Zacharias – whose film collaborations Keep the Lights On (2012), Love is...
Laura McVeigh: Journeys of the mind

Laura McVeigh: Journeys of the mind

Laura McVeigh’s debut novel Under the Almond Tree is a vibrant and tender modern fable of a young life blighted by war. Fifteen–year-old Samar is displaced from Taliban-controlled Afghanistan and narrates her story from aboard the Trans-Siberian Express as it trundles east and west between Moscow and Vladivostok. With family and memories in tow, as...
Steven Uhly: A life of encounters

Steven Uhly: A life of encounters

The chance to converse with Steven Uhly is not just a meeting but a real and even formative encounter, a moment of wisdom, laughter, serious and relaxed humanity. He is someone with a very distinct presence, ineradicable and self-effacing at the same time, poetic and materially concrete. He exudes indomitable strength and very serene, reflective...
Chris Cleave: Across the divide

Chris Cleave: Across the divide

Chris Cleave’s latest novel, Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, is a London-set examination of the real impact of the Second World War, centring on an 18-year-old schoolteacher called Mary North. Cleave and I have tea one afternoon in Piccadilly to discuss it. There’s a reason why we’re drinking tea and not, say, vermouth. Cleave doesn’t drink....