"The West doesn’t understand radicalism. It’s anger, isolation, alienation, pain – that’s what drives young people to take up arms against the world. Not religion." Fatima Bhutto
Confessions

Confessions

David Means is the author of the highly acclaimed story collections A Quick Kiss of Redemption (1991), Assorted Fire Events (2000) The Secret Goldfish (2004) and Spot (2010) as well as the Man Booker-nominated novel Hystopia (2016). His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Zeotrope and Best American...
Fatima Bhutto: Lost hearts and souls

Fatima Bhutto: Lost hearts and souls

Fatima Bhutto’s second novel The Runaways is a provocative, astute and ever-timely exploration of what makes three young people in Pakistan and England reject the society that raised them and sign up to the war against the West. Anita, growing up in a sprawling Karachi slum, aims to better herself...
Ece Temelkuran: Disrupt the disrupters

Ece Temelkuran: Disrupt the disrupters

 Desperate, confused, bored and exhausted. These are all words that most of us could relate to when we think of modern-day politics. Have we lost the plot? According to Ece Temelkuran, a prominent critical political commentator, we most certainly have but we are not alone. In her ominously titled...
Sheena Kamal: The rage that simmers

Sheena Kamal: The rage that simmers

It All Falls Down is the second in what will hopefully turn out to be a long-running series of crime novels by Canadian author Sheena Kamal. Once again focused on an enigmatic female protagonist named Nora Watts, it is a worthy follow up to Kamal’s critically acclaimed debut Eyes Like...
Visions and monsters

Visions and monsters

The Monstrous Child, which has just completed a very successful run at the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Theatre, is one of the first and most audacious examples of a new genre: highly evocative classical opera especially written for teenage audiences. Adapted from the YA novel of the same name by...
Leïla Slimani: We are all monsters

Leïla Slimani: We are all monsters

 Leïla Slimani has been in huge demand on the global literary circuit since winning the Prix Goncourt in 2016 with her second novel Chanson douce, which was published in English last year as Lullaby (and in the US as The Perfect Nanny), translated by Sam Taylor. A worldwide bestseller,...
Mothers, daughters and make-believe

Mothers, daughters and make-believe

Whistle in the Dark, Emma Healey’s highly acclaimed follow-up to 2014’s Costa First Novel Award-winning Elizabeth is Missing, is now out in paperback. She fills us in on her daily routines and favourite reading, and explains why she is hesitant about meeting her literary heroes, preferring to confer with their...
The supper

The supper

I bite the cookie I’d slowly brought to my mouth; it breaks, like bones being crushed. I grind it and picture the lattice pattern on its surface coming apart, reminding me of the game my grandfather taught me and invited me to play on many afternoons. Cookie, lattice, crushed bones....
The crossing

The crossing

The girls on the top deck brush the hair from their faces. The hazy blue mountain ranges, rising on both sides of the Strait. The places you will never go, the life there. Ilham’s eyes wander over the mountains of the Rif, the country they are leaving behind. Why did...
Latest entries
First impressions

First impressions

Novels from Latvia, Uzbekistan and Poland competed for the 2019 EBRD Literature Prize, established by the London-based European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to celebrate the best fiction in translation from the 38 territories where the bank invests, from Morocco to Mongolia, Estonia to Egypt. The judges were journalist and founder-director of the European Literature Network...
Have keyboard will travel

Have keyboard will travel

Any Means Necessary is the second book in Jenny Rogneby’s bestselling series of novels featuring rule-bending police detective Leona Lindberg. Keeping one foot on each side of the law, Leona mounts a special operation of colossal proportions that could reap high rewards personally as well as professionally. Here’s a glimpse into Jenny’s globetrotting writing routine....
Love, judgement and forgiveness

Love, judgement and forgiveness

“Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them”, said Lord Illingworth to Mrs Arbuthnot in A Woman of No Importance. It is perhaps one of Wilde’s most chilling aphorisms, as much a witticism à clef, as it must have felt like a presentiment and...
Nilton Resende: Good and evil

Nilton Resende: Good and evil

A native of Maceió, Alagoas, in Brazil’s northeast, Nilton Resende has made a name for himself in multiple artistic fields. He’s an adjunct professor of literature at the state university; co-founded the Ganymedes theatre company, for which he adapted, co-directed, and starred in Thomas Mann’s Mario and the Magician; and has worked as a film...
"I remember a macabre joke..."

“I remember a macabre joke…”

“The witnesses of the Holocaust are old and nearing death. The murder of 6m Jews… will soon be history, not memory… The new horror is that this Everest of evidence [that now exists on Nazi Germany and the Final Solution] may not be working as a warning,” wrote Bryan Appleyard on 20 January 2019 in...
Oyinkan Braithwaite: Blood sisters

Oyinkan Braithwaite: Blood sisters

If the title hasn’t already won you over, the opening lines hook you right in: “Ayoola summons me with these words – Korede, I killed him. I had hoped I would never hear those words again.” Oyinkan Braithwaite’s debut novel My Sister, the Serial Killer is a pacy, macabre and very funny gallop through the...
John Lanchester: Behind the barricades

John Lanchester: Behind the barricades

John Lanchester’s The Wall is a dystopian vision of post-climate-collapse Britain. As the seas have risen, all the world’s beaches and low-lying communities have been submerged, and vast displaced populations are cast adrift on the oceans in a perilous search of safe harbour. In common with other still-habitable territories, Britain’s rocky coast is topped by...
Wedding plans

Wedding plans

Mrs Binat’s ambitions for her daughters were fairly typical: groom them into marriageable material and wed them off to no less than princes and presidents. Before their fall, her husband had always assured her that, no matter what a mess Alys or any of the girls became, they would fare well because they were Binat...
Pride, prejudice and parathas

Pride, prejudice and parathas

When I was fourteen years old, my Aunt Helen gave me my first Jane Austen novel, a beautiful red and gold hardback of Pride and Prejudice. I remember climbing onto my bed one summer afternoon in Lahore, the heat tempered by the roar of the AC, and settling down with this new read. It is...
Just sittin’ here doin’ time

Just sittin’ here doin’ time

When my mother got home, the four of us would head out to dinner, and twice my sister, Rachel, joined us. It felt sometimes like it was the old days again, and other times a little strained, as though we were in a play about a family who all hold secrets from one another. In...