"When you think about something, when you remember something, it’s never linear, it’s kaleidoscopic. You remember someone and then another story comes." Négar Djavadi
Other worlds

Other worlds

I love a good dystopia as much as the next reader. Throw me into a destroyed civilisation with a handful of plucky survivors struggling to stay alive, and I’m right in there with the can opener and home-made water filters. But sometimes I struggle to understand how that world came...
Teeth

Teeth

From vampires and tooth fairies to barber-surgeons and professional dentists, Wellcome Collection’s summer exhibition traces the evolution of our relationship with our teeth and what they say about us. Featuring over 150 objects from cartoons and caricatures to protective amulets, toothpaste advertisements and a range of chairs, drills and training...
Négar Djavadi: Neither here nor there

Négar Djavadi: Neither here nor there

French-Iranian screenwriter Négar Djavadi’s illuminating, richly entertaining debut novel Disoriental combines a sweeping family history in 20th-century Iran with an intimate study of identity and motherhood in contemporary Paris. Kimiâ Sadr is a lesbian punk rocker who spent her teenage years in the French capital after the family fled the...
Finding stories in America's heartland

Finding stories in America’s heartland

Ideas come to writers in myriad ways. Anything is game, be it a newspaper article, an overheard conversation or a story passed down through a family for generations. The more open-ended the better, as it gives the writer more room to develop the story in their way. Novels may be...
Lily Bailey: OCD and me

Lily Bailey: OCD and me

As a child and teenager, London-born Lily Bailey suffered from severe obsessive compulsive disorder. From as early as she can remember, there was always a second voice in her head, filling her brain with intrusive, uncomfortable thoughts convincing her she was a bad person liable to bring only pain, grief...
Latest entries
Astérix in Britain

Astérix in Britain

Jewish Museum London presents a major retrospective exhibition on the life and work of René Goscinny (1926–1977), the ingenious writer of beloved comics such as Astérix and Lucky Luke, an artist who revolutionised the genre and dissolved the divide between learned and popular culture. Over 100 items gathered from around the world are displayed together...
Beyond the abyss

Beyond the abyss

I was only a few months through an MA in Creative Writing and I already wanted to quit. My partner was driving me to the train station at the time. I had the money in my hand ready to pay for the expensive journey that would get me all the way from South Wales to...
Outsiders within

Outsiders within

Somewhere in the world, there is always a refugee crisis, people on the run from famine or conflict or natural disaster. I began writing my novel The Boat People in 2013 when the Syrian War was in its second year, just as the life rafts started to appear on the Mediterranean. As I wrote and...
Six white robins

Six white robins

The Beggar and Other Stories is a very unusual collection, and in fact an arrangement not directly intended to appear as such by its author. Its compiler, Gaito Gazdanov’s newest translator Bryan Karetnyk, has orchestrated a truly unconventional array of layers of both fiction and reality, of narrative experiences and of perspectives of vision and...
A beginning

A beginning

Everyone loves an origin myth, even if most are exaggerations or convenient distortions, and some of them outright lies. But if you want to know where the idea for my debut novel Arkady came from, I might as well tell you this story. Sometime around 2010, while I was working as a freelance radio producer,...
Courtney Zoffness: Connections and capabilities

Courtney Zoffness: Connections and capabilities

Courtney Zoffness has won the 2018 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award for her provocative but delicately told ‘Peanuts Aren’t Nuts’, which explores a troubling relationship between an impressionable young student called Pam and her creepy biology tutor Mr Peebles. She triumphed over a strong shortlist of all-American writers also featuring Allegra Goodman, Miranda July,...
Daydream believer

Daydream believer

Salley Vickers’ latest novel The Librarian is the story of Sylvia Blackwell, a woman in her twenties in the 1950s who moves to the quaint Wiltshire market town of East Mole to work in a library. When she falls in love with an older man, her interactions with his precocious daughter and her neighbours’ son...
Teenage heaven

Teenage heaven

In 2003, the big haze lingered. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome had broken out in Guangdong the year before and coughed and hacked its way around the region. People had died from it. Everyone was afraid of getting infected. Some wore stupid-looking hospital masks but Szu and I would rather have been caught dead than join...
Living on the edge

Living on the edge

In Natasha Carthew’s raw, uncompromising and intensely lyrical first adult novel All Rivers Run Free, we encounter a brittle young woman called Ia Pendilly, who lives with her brutal common-law husband in a caravan on the Cornish coast. When Ia finds an abandoned waif washed up on the shore, she makes a precarious break for...
Wonders beyond words

Wonders beyond words

A conversation with Todd Haynes, Brian Selznick, Oakes Fegley and Jaden Michael. Todd Haynes’ latest film Wonderstruck is adapted from Brian Selznick’s part-graphic, part-prose children’s novel about a mysterious connection in New York City between two deaf children set 50 years apart. In 1927 Rose (Millicent Simmonds) is the estranged daughter of silent movie star...