"I’ve always written short stories, I’ve always been interested in the form being dictated by the concept, rather than the other way round." Jon McGregor
March 2015
The world's pendulum is Antigone's heart

The world’s pendulum is Antigone’s heart

Ivo van Hove’s production of Antigone at the Barbican reminds us of what theatre is all about. Why tragedy and the Greeks are still crucial to our understanding of our humanity and inhumanity, why they still present us with a timeless meaning, an ethics of eternity. Ivo van Hove has given us a haunting, eerie...
Ayelet Gundar-Goshen untamed

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen untamed

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen’s debut novel One Night, Markovitch is a dazzlingly funny and tender story about love, betrayal and mythmaking. Set before, during and after the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, it centres around an unremarkable man who agrees to an arranged marriage to a beautiful woman to help her escape Nazi Europe for the emerging Jewish homeland...
The poet

The poet

Bella Markovitch spent an entire year in the home of the poet. Several days after their first meeting, she got used to the chopped liver smell, and now smelled it only when they fought. Every morning, after the poet left for work, Bella packed all her clothes in a bag and was ready to leave...
I looked for you, I called your name

I looked for you, I called your name

The first thing that went wrong was the emergency landing. My husband and I were both reading In Flight Magazine and enjoying the complimentary wine in first class – I’d never flown first class before, but it was our honeymoon and we thought that was what we were supposed to do; drink in the daytime,...
Time, self and story

Time, self and story

Fifty years after Marshall McLuhan’s ground-breaking The Medium is the Message, Shumon Basar, Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist examine the unstoppable impact of technology on contemporary culture. Touring a world redefined by the internet, decoding and explaining what they call the ‘extreme present’, The Age of Earthquakes harnesses the images, language and perceptions of...
Keeping the magic

Keeping the magic

We translators are used to becoming experts on subjects we know nothing about, describing sights we’ve never seen and speaking in voices that are not our own. But translating the Equatorial Guinean novel By Night The Mountain Burns, by Juan Tomás Ávila Laurel, seemed to require a bigger leap of faith than usual. How could...
Talking to the deads

Talking to the deads

When the Pico burned and I saw my grandfather cry, my curiosity in him grew and I wondered about who he really was. And I thought about what we’d seen when we went into his room. What did we see in grandfather’s room? Well, after all those people were taken by the cholera, it was...
The sculptor

The sculptor

Scott McCloud’s first graphic novel in almost a decade is a story of desire taken to the edge of reason and beyond. David Smith is a young sculptor who is literally giving his life for his art. Thanks to a deal with Death, David gets his childhood wish: to sculpt anything he can imagine with...
Tony Juniper: Green growth

Tony Juniper: Green growth

Tony Juniper’s latest book, What Nature Does for Britain, sets out to undermine the received folly that protecting nature is somehow bad for the economy and, via first-hand accounts from around the country showing how environmental damage is under repair, builds a persuasive manifesto for a greener nation. We sit down for a wide-ranging chat...
The old she-wolf and the little girl

The old she-wolf and the little girl

In Manchuria, now north-east China, a large she-wolf and a girl just four years old squatted in a sorghum field. The wolf was sturdily built, but she was old and patches of her fur had fallen out and most of her teeth were missing. The little girl wore a white shirt with red baggy pantaloons,...