"In my experience of writing – and of life – the frenzy of dreams and that of form always go together." Iosi Havilio
September 2013
Hannah Kent: From Adelaide to Icelandic noir

Hannah Kent: From Adelaide to Icelandic noir

Hannah Kent’s dark and impressive debut novel Burial Rites picks at the bones of a 200-year-old Icelandic story of murder, mistrust and local intrigue. Determined to become a writer since long before she left high school, her journey to success might easily have taken a different turn, she tells Mark Reynolds. Although Iceland – and...
Subtle Invasion

Subtle Invasion

At the Hostal Punta Marina, in Tossa de Mar, I met a disturbing Japanese man who didn’t bear the slightest resemblance to the idea I’d formed of the Japanese. At suppertime he took a seat at my table after asking my permission without much ceremony. I was struck that he didn’t have slanted eyes or...
Cocaine and other addictions

Cocaine and other addictions

In 1920, at the age of just twenty-seven, a young Italian named Dino Segre, writing under the pen name Pitigrilli, achieved overnight success and notoriety with a book of short stories called Luxurious Breasts, followed the next year by the novel Cocaine, and a second book of stories entitled The Chastity Belt. Although he was...
Twins

Twins

When I wrote my book The Twins, I was inspired by my own identical twin daughters, and the contradictions and complexities inside their intense and exclusive pairing. Wondering if the bonds between twins could ever be broken, I set out to explore the fictional possibilities inside that question, creating a premise where tragedy and guilt...
The bear

The bear

There was a bear. Life in the woods, where he lived with the other bears, had begun to sicken him. The bear would go to the edge of the forest and watch the people who lived in the small town below. The stature of the buildings, the play of light on glass, the swish of...
Dinner with Donna and a Wild Thing

Dinner with Donna and a Wild Thing

Matthew Crow was born in 1987 and raised in Newcastle. He has worked as a freelance journalist on publications including the Independent on Sunday and the Observer and has written two adult novels of which My Dearest Jonah was nominated for the Dylan Thomas Prize. His latest book is the Young Adult novel In Bloom....
The Elephant in the Suitcase

The Elephant in the Suitcase

Nirmal whistled as he shovelled, but he was not feeling cheerful. His head throbbed from the summer heat and his spine ached from bending down. He had hoped to dig a six-foot-deep trench around his house by nightfall, but a day’s work had only resulted in blisters on his palms and a shallow ditch that...
A state of affairs worth fighting for

A state of affairs worth fighting for

Homage to Catalonia chronicles George Orwell’s experiences as a militiaman in the Spanish Civil War. He brings to bear all the force of his humanity, passion and clarity as he describes the bright hopes and cynical betrayals of that chaotic time: the revolutionary euphoria of Barcelona, the courage of ordinary Spanish men and women he...
If Ferrante were chocolate...

If Ferrante were chocolate…

Meg Wolitzer is the author of several acclaimed novels, most recently The Wife, The Position, The Uncoupling and The Interestings, which has been praised for its warmth, emotional depth and keen observation. She fills us in on her reading and writing (and eating) habits and flags up a few enduring literary favourites. Where are you...
Charlotte Mendelson: Invisible alien

Charlotte Mendelson: Invisible alien

When I arrive at the offices of Charlotte Mendelson’s publisher Pan Macmillan she is already there and is quite hard to miss, not least because she is wearing flat pointed shoes that are the exact shade of a yellow highlighter pen. People are clearly fond of her here and she’s so keen to chat to...