"I expect you’ll be becoming a schoolmaster, sir. That’s what most of the gentlemen does, sir, that gets sent down for indecent behaviour.” Evelyn Waugh, Decline and Fall
Interviews
Chibundu Onuzo: Sticking together

Chibundu Onuzo: Sticking together

Chibundu Onuzo’s vibrant second novel Welcome to Lagos – following 2012’s acclaimed The Spider King’s Daughter – is the story of an unlikely band of runaways thrown together as they escape civil unrest in the Niger Delta to start a new life in Nigeria’s chaotic and sprawling megacity. Army officer Chike and loyal foot soldier...
Burhan Sönmez: Istanbul light and dark

Burhan Sönmez: Istanbul light and dark

Burhan Sönmez’ latest novel Istanbul Istanbul is set in a cramped two-by-one-metre prison cell beneath the teeming city, where a student, a doctor, a barber and a frail activist regale each other with stories, parables and riddles to fill the time between brutal interrogations. Readers are transported from the oppression of the dingy cell by...
Colson Whitehead: Making it

Colson Whitehead: Making it

Colson Whitehead has just won the National Book Award for fiction for his bold and provocative novel The Underground Railroad, a nightmarish historical saga about a slave girl called Cora who’s on the run from the horrors of life on a Georgia plantation. Giving literal life to the metaphor for assisted escape, she emerges via...
Enchanted by the mystery of books

Enchanted by the mystery of books

Ana Pérez Galván, the tranquil force behind Hispabooks, has an unwavering dream: to publish new writing from every corner of Spain in English translation, and to change readers’ perceptions of Spanish literature as eternally oscillating between the two monumental poles of Cervantes and Lorca; to revise our view of Spain as being only the realistic...
Cristina Sánchez-Andrade: Flickers

Cristina Sánchez-Andrade: Flickers

The Winterlings is the first of Spanish author Cristina Sánchez-Andrade’s novels to be published in the UK, and it makes for an intoxicating introduction to her work. It’s a tale of two sisters hiding a dark secret, and magic and enchantment in all forms, from village superstitions to the glamour of the movies. Set chiefly...
Miriam Elia begs to differ

Miriam Elia begs to differ

Artist and satirist Miriam Elia’s Ladybird-style spoof We go to the gallery was one of the self-made hits of 2015. It attracted both the ire and the opportunism of publishing giants Penguin, who own the copyright in the original, long-overlooked series, and tried to quash Miriam’s work while rushing out their own adult Ladybirds. Now,...
DBC Pierre: The energising struggle

DBC Pierre: The energising struggle

DBC Pierre is already at the appointed bar when I arrive 15 minutes early for our interview. He’s smoking and chatting outside and I worry about how to interrupt him but he’s as courteous as he is convivial. We have met once before – I used to work in a bookshop in a train station...
Gavin Extence: An occupied mind

Gavin Extence: An occupied mind

The set-up for Gavin Extence’s The Empathy Problem is as bleak as they come: Gabriel Vaughn, a hotshot hedge fund executive with a heart of stone, is given only months to live when he learns that he has an inoperable brain tumour. The tumour happens to be located in the part of his brain that...
The many faces of Lucy Caldwell

The many faces of Lucy Caldwell

Multitudes is the first book of short stories from the prizewinning novelist and playwright Lucy Caldwell. The collection is eleven stories strong and each of the stories seems to describe a character in peril so that holding one’s breath whilst reading them sometimes feels unavoidable. Caldwell agrees to meet me to discuss the stories and...
Laura Lippman: No more heroes

Laura Lippman: No more heroes

Laura Lippman’s latest novel is set in the Maryland suburb of Wilde Lake, Columbia, twenty miles west of Baltimore, where she lived and went to school in the 1970s. The ‘new town’ of Columbia was founded as a well-meaning experiment in egalitarian community living – which in retrospect was always likely to fail. With deliberate...