"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
May 2015
Chigozie Obioma: Tangled lines

Chigozie Obioma: Tangled lines

Told from the point of view of Benjamin, the youngest of four brothers, Chigozie Obioma’s powerful debut The Fishermen is the story of a childhood in 1990s Nigeria. When their father has to travel to a distant city for work, the boys take advantage of his absence to skip school and go fishing. At the...
Sunny Singh: Among the ruins

Sunny Singh: Among the ruins

Sunny Singh’s new novel Hotel Arcadia plunges readers into the midst of a terror attack in a 5-star hotel in an unnamed city. War photographer Sam, known for her haunting portraits of the recently dead, has picked the wrong place to wind down after her latest assignment, but can’t resist her impulse to document the...
Strays and loners

Strays and loners

The temple garden was beautiful, bright flowering trees and shrubs hidden from the noise of the traffic. We stood holding hands by a Buddhist statue while a local government official read something from a piece of paper. We promised to love one another, to live in harmony until death, caring for one another in times...
Going deeper

Going deeper

Digging a grave on a cold, rainy morning in winter certainly focuses the mind. Human beings tend to die in the winter. You learn this when you are a gravedigger and things have been picking up since the autumn. As with so many professions, there is more to do at Christmas. I was asked if...
Shouting at a river

Shouting at a river

Standing over a bassinet in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in the early hours of Christmas Eve, 2002, I contemplated what the hell my first act as a father should be. My Miss Marie had been dragged into the world, with suction, only a few minutes before, and after flunking one Apgar test and remaining...
Keeping the Moomins above water

Keeping the Moomins above water

As Moomins on the Riviera arrives in UK cinemas, I catch up with Sophia Jansson, niece of Moomins creator Tove Jansson and head of the Moomin Characters company, to discuss the genesis of the film and her aunt’s wider legacy. The hand-drawn film is made by Hanna Hemilä’s Handle Productions in Helsinki and director Xavier...
On the cusp of wherever

On the cusp of wherever

I am on a beach holiday and it is raining. Still, we sit out, under the umbrellas, because we’re told that it will pass, and there is nothing else to do, and the children are swimming regardless. The rain has delighted them, but I am cold. Everyone around me holds a book, or device. In...
A tenor of old Ireland

A tenor of old Ireland

Some years ago I found myself living in New York City. I was there because my wife worked as a development officer for a large and well-known Irish institution, and there were bountiful potential funds in the Irish-American community. We attended many functions and dinners, and I got to meet plenty of high-net-worth Irish-Americans. I...
Leaving it all behind

Leaving it all behind

Rickard Velily’s first job in New York was as a reporter for a small local newspaper. He did not stay long in the job because it was apparent that the other people who worked in the newspaper were doing so as a sort of retirement project. He felt guilty spending time with them when, after...
Diving into Wonderland

Diving into Wonderland

Something is stirring underground at London’s Waterloo, as two immersive shows share a lovingly created Wonderland to mark the 150th anniversary of Lewis Carroll’s Alice. I sit down with co-directors Oliver Lansley and James Seager from theatre group Les Enfants Terribles and producer Emma Brünjes to peer down the rabbit-hole. Alice’s Adventures Underground, and its...