"There is no centre anymore. We live in a multipolar world, and culture reflects that." Fatima Bhutto
May 2014
A kind of living

A kind of living

There would certainly have been other alternatives; our hero could have stolen cars, salvaged the copper from telephone cables or sold his kidneys. But of all the bad offers, the one from Yegor Kugar was the best. It guaranteed him a year’s employment, transport to the scene of operations and even a job for his...
The true lives of Luke Brown

The true lives of Luke Brown

Editor Luke Brown turns author with his debut novel My Biggest Lie, about a man who wakes up after a disastrously drunken night in which he loses his job and girlfriend and decides to flee to Argentina to get his life back on track. Nothing goes to plan, of course, and Liam creates havoc in...
Business

Business

You’re standing outside the bar on 104th Street and Broadway, the rain beating down like it means you harm at first, then dissipates so all it does is leave the street slick and smooth as a sheet of marble. You inhale that smell of wet pavement you’ve known forever, and the city shines back at...
My wilderness year

My wilderness year

Having three novels published over a space of about eight months is an invigorating, magnificent and mystifying experience. The New York Times name-checks your Annihilation on their front page as an example of “binge reading” and after the glow fades (and the confusion: please don’t skim) you realize it’s also binge publicity, which means binge...
Exercise and experience

Exercise and experience

Like most fiction writers I write much that is abandoned. One response to this was to think that I have wasted all this time, but a writer I admire once said to me that “there’s no time wasted writing.” I also have this vivid memory of reading lines by William Faulkner, where he compares the...
The four Christophers

The four Christophers

We have the same memory. It’s very early. The sun has just come up. The three of us – father, mother and son – are yawning sleepily. Mum’s made some tea or coffee, and we duly drink it. We’re in the living room, or the kitchen, as still and quiet as statues. Our eyes keep...
Witching with ink

Witching with ink

With very few exceptions, books about writing are nuts-and-bolts manuals. They should be kept with the recipe books and IKEA furniture assembly instructions. The idea is that if you follow the steps, apply logic and put in the hours, you will construct something as substantial as a house. Do these three things sufficiently well, and...
Peter Buwalda: Expect fireworks

Peter Buwalda: Expect fireworks

It’s often assumed that first-time novelists only write about what they know. Ahead of meeting Peter Buwalda I try to dismiss any notion of encountering a judo blackbelt, mathematical genius and jazz buff with paranoia and jealousy issues, a murderous streak and an internet porn habit, as might be inferred from the characters he portrays...
Another side of Borges

Another side of Borges

We would begin our stroll down the Avenida Belgrano, a wide, busy, modern thoroughfare, trying to speak over the roar and fumes of the traffic. The ubiquitous snub-nosed buses crawled along in step with us, throbbing and belching their murderous black exhaust in our faces. Borges never seemed to notice. He was too busy discussing...
What you really want

What you really want

1. Celebrate the small victories They actually aren’t small at all! The best part about being a writer is writing, not publishing or being interviewed or having your author photo taken. The satisfaction of blocking out time, holding yourself accountable to your goals and putting words on the page isn’t contingent on an agent’s approval...