Coming in and going out
Postcards with secrets, facing the unexperienced, doctors, priests, exterminating angels, smiling songs and drones over London. The continuing Plague Diary of Gonçalo M. Tavares, translated by Daniel Hahn.

Why do birds sing?
On nightwatch for a visiting Blythe’s reed warbler, Stanisław Łubieński reflects on musical nature and instinct. From The Birds They Sang.

Our Lady in peril
Agnès Poirier sets out the defining moments in the history of Notre-Dame and the challenges of reconstruction, a year after the great cathedral was gutted by fire. From Notre-Dame: The Soul of France.

My opposite hand
Novelist Alison Jean Lester experienced a creative surge and closer reading when a repetitive strain injury led her to switch writing hands.

A month of singular vision
Hisham Matar’s A Month in Siena is a lyrical essay on identity, consciousness and creativity, yet misreads certain artworks, suggests Mika Provata-Carlone.

Every animal has its own madness
Our first piercing extracts from Gonçalo M. Tavares’ Diário da Peste (Plague Diary), his daily response to the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak. Translated by Daniel Hahn.


Frédéric Beigbeder: Deciding not to die
Is death inevitable, or do recent scientific advances mean it’s just a matter of timing? From the novel A Life Without End.

Monique Roffey: Back on land
Island fisherman David Baptiste takes action when he witnesses the cruel catch of American tourists. From The Mermaid of Black Conch.

Tayari Jones: The secret
Young Dana learns that her Daddy’s double life is not to be spoken of in school or in company. From Silver Sparrow.


Wang Anyi: Ah Fang’s lamp
A passerby weaves a fairy tale for grey days from the daily routines of a slender fruit-seller and her family. Translated by Helen Wang, from The Book of Shanghai.

Suzanne Reisman: The angel of conception
As the only female angel, Lailah has her work cut out setting new souls on the path to life, and preparing them for the World to Come.

Tara Isabella Burton: Dorian Gray is having more fun than you
Image is everything and satisfaction tantalisingly out of reach in this high-octane story about New York City’s all-night party scene.

Brett Marie: The perils of Portland
Extreme weather begets an extreme reaction and rain-soaked hard labour as her husband’s tiresome wisecrack sends Harriet over the edge.


Myths, monsters and the misunderstood
Monique Roffey discusses The Mermaid of Black Conch, sets out a typical writing day, and offers a glimpse of her upcoming kinky crime novel.

Nikita Lalwani: Playing God
The author of Gifted, The Village and You People delves into her influences, old and new favourites, writing habits and literary passions.


Petina Gappah: Follow the body
The author of Out of Darkness, Shining Light tells us about delving into the journey of
David Livingstone’s mortal remains across Africa, borne by his loyal companions.

Camilla Bruce: Away with the faeries

The author of You Let Me In welcomes Mark Reynolds into her immersive world of folklore, forest spirits, burial mounds, missing persons and alarming imaginary friends.

Deepa Anappara: Other realities
The author of Djinn Patrol on the Purple Line tells Mark Reynolds about depicting the harsh, fantasy-filled lives of India’s poor urban kids.

Homesick for another land
Carol Isaacs talks to Mark Reynolds about The Wolf of Baghdad – a haunting graphic memoir of a lost homeland and her Iraqi-Jewish roots.


from Ledger
Two poems from Jane Hirshfield’s passionate new collection touching on themes of climate, the environment, human actions and inaction.


Hannah Vincent: The painting
A husband’s gift for gift-giving is called into question when he is sidetracked by an unwelcome obsession. From She-Clown and Other Stories.

Matsuda Aoko: What she can do
A contemporary take on the traditional tale of Kosodate Yūrei (The Child-Rearing Ghost) from the collection Where the Wild Ladies Are.

Jen Calleja: The natural
An aspiring actor makes a stilted impression when granted an audience with one of his heroes. From I’m Afraid That’s All We’ve Got Time For.


Spirits and stimulations
Rosanna Amaka’s debut novel The Book of Echoes connects ripples in history from the African slave trade to contemporary Brixton and Nigeria. She answers our Q&A about her inspirations, reading and writing habits.


Martin Dumont: A good lie
A father finds an impromptu way to try and ease the suffering of his terminally ill son. From the poignant debut novel Schrödinger’s Dog.

Petina Gappah: Nile madness
David Livingstone’s cook Halima hopes the meeting with Henry Morton Stanley will end his resolve to find the source of the Nile. The author reads from Out of Darkness, Shining Light.

Ayfer Tunç: Icons and believers
A jumble of junk and keepsakes from a Christian relic to an explicit nude. From The Highly Unreliable Account of the History of a Madhouse.

Moris Farhi: The dolphin children
An instant connection between teenage outsider orphans Belkis and Oric, from his final novel, the future fable The End Is My Beginning.

Peter Stamm: Double lives
Past and present merge as a writer is struck by the beauty of a familiar stranger. From The Sweet Indifference of the World.


On finding your voice
Lisa Owens, screenwriter and author of Not Working, relives the lightbulb moment that radically altered her approach to writing.


The Mourners’ Kaddish
Mika Provata-Carlone admires Tom Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt: a relentless reminder of our fragility, brutality, innocence and dark instincts.


This great horse-faced bluestocking
Mika Provata-Carlone appraises Kathy O’Shaughnessy’s sharp, adoring, engaging and richly constructed novel In Love with George Eliot.


Elaine Chiew: Chinese Almanac
From fortune cookies to horny rabbits: a story of mourning, miscommunication and concealed sexuality from the collection The Heartsick Diaspora.


The accidental activist
Mark Ruffalo and Todd Haynes’ Dark Waters is a powerful film about DuPont’s disregard for the environment and the inspiring campaign of Rob Bilott, the mild-mannered corporate lawyer who went rogue, writes Mark Reynolds.

Moving on from murder
Mark Reynolds reviews ITV’s true crime drama White House Farm, drawn from the accounts of Colin Caffell and Carol Ann Lee by Kris Mrksa.


From In the Dream House
An engrossing extract from Carmen Maria Machado’s groundbreaking memoir about finding herself in an abusive gay relationship.


Anne Cathrine Bomann: How to relate
The author of Agatha talks to Mark Reynolds about her tender debut novel and its themes of loneliness, despair, healing and reconnection.

Burhan Sönmez: Variations on a life
The author of Labyrinth takes Mark Reynolds on a journey through its winding paths of identity, memory, mind and body in timeless Istanbul.


Keep calm and carry on giving
Mika Provata-Carlone rounds up the best recent children’s books for all ages, and invites support for the work of global non-profit Worldreader.


My one and only
Plans for a romantic interlude while the folks are away are interrupted by a despicable betrayal. From Wild Woman by Marina Šur Puhlovski, translated from the Croatian by Christina Pribichevic-Zorić.


In Fleabag’s head
The collected scripts in Fleabag: The Scriptures add another layer to our enjoyment of the hit comedy series, writes Mark Reynolds.

After all that we were, what shall we be?
Mika Provata-Carlone appraises Annette Hess’ The German House, an ambitious and disturbing novel about post-war guilt, blame and reparation.

Not quite the way to the stars
Mika Provata-Carlone praises Jerry Toner’s Infamy, a thoroughly entertaining dissection of the extremes and contradictions of ancient Rome.

Disciplines of disobedience
Protest is a vital renegotiation of the social contract, says Ra Page in his introduction to the anthology Resist: Stories of Uprising.

From heaven to earth
Armand D’Angour’s Socrates in Love is a provocative, engaging and urgent injunction to heed humanity’s choices, writes Mika Provata-Carlone.


In body and soul
Jane Rogers reflects on her writing habits, influences and inspirations, in the light of her novel Body Tourists, about unfettered AI.


Fatima Bhutto: Culture shifts

In New Kings of the World, Fatima Bhutto investigates how Bollywood, Turkish soap operas and K-pop are challenging America’s cultural power. She talks to Mark Reynolds.


Wendy Erskine: Beyond normal
Alaia Rotaeche tracks down the Northern Irish writer to chat about character, place and the surreal in her Belfast-bound story collection Sweet Home.

Louisa Treger: Unconventional lives
Karin Salvalaggio talks to the author of The Dragon Lady, a sumptuous tale of murder and intrigue based on the life of Virginia Courtauld.

Etgar Keret: Something weird
The irrepressible storyteller and filmmaker tells Mark Reynolds about family, creativity, his new collection Fly Already and other projects.

America, are you listening?
Karin Salvalaggio talks to an impassioned Attica Locke about her Highway 59 thrillers Bluebird, Bluebird and Heaven, My Home, about a black Texas Ranger investigating race crimes.

Laura Lippman: From all sides
Laura Lippman’s latest thriller Lady in the Lake is a tale of two murders told from shifting points of view. She talks to Karin Salvalaggio.


Krishna Monteiro: I’ll sing when you sleep
A tender story amid a vicious cock fight from the collection O que não existe mais (What No Longer Exists), Tordesilhas Books, Brazil, 2015, translated by Kim M. Hastings.

Paulina Flores: American spirit
Two young women meet up to remember the old days working thankless shifts at TGI Friday’s. From the debut collection Humiliation, translated by Megan McDowell.

Emmanuelle Pagano: The short cut
Empathy and understanding take a dark turn as a seeming impostor turns up at her cousin’s wedding. From Faces on the Tip of My Tongue.


Marvellous and mischievous
A selection of artworks and manuscripts from the British Library exhibition celebrating mavericks and rule-breakers in children’s literature.


Nowhere, or wherever you are
Zoe Hannon admires Jenn Ashworth’s redemptive essay-memoir about childbirth, trauma and creativity, Notes Made While Falling.

Capital Crime: Debut festival of the year
Karin Salvalaggio is wowed by the all-star line-up and inspiring panel discussions at London’s inaugural Capital Crime book festival.

Corsets of conventionality
Ursula Phillips reviews From Corsets to Communism, Jenny Robertson’s striking and accessible biography of Polish polymath Zofia Nałkowska.

The future of Palestine
In the midst of WWI, Palestine was a low priority for British strategic interests, writes Gardner Thompson. From Legacy of Empire: Britain, Zionism and the Creation of Israel.

Dim background figures
Mika Provata-Carlone relishes Sarah Watling’s Noble Savages, a sharp, nuanced and sensitive account of the lives of the Olivier Sisters.

Write what you want to forget
Lucia Osborne-Crowley, author of I Choose Elena, reflects on capturing and taming the trauma of sexual abuse through narrative.

The next best death
Long Litt Woon is numbed by her husband’s sudden departure from this world. From The Way Through the Woods: On Mushrooms and Mourning.

Trying to tell a stranger about rock ’n’ roll
Mark Radcliffe’s hit-and-miss romp through pop history, Crossroads, is redeemed by his infectious enthusiasm, writes Brett Marie.

Home at the asylum
Isabel Vincent reflects on the folly of moving to Roosevelt island as her marriage threatens to crumble. From the memoir Dinner With Edward.

Don’t hurry over them
Mika Provata-Carlone praises John Gaskin’s The Travellers’ Guide to Classical Philosophy – an astute, energetic primer on meaningfulness.

More than itself
Notes on the Melody of Things are the shining heart of Rainer Maria Rilke and Maurice Betz’ Rilke in Paris, writes Mika Provata-Carlone.


At sea
A band of refugees attempt a perilous Mediterranean crossing in a rubber dinghy. From We Are Made of Earth by Panos Karnezis.

Heart to heart
Remembering a father’s lonely death in a motionless car on the streets of Paris. From Colette Fellous’ This Tilting World.

Joe Buck!
A legendary entrance from the opening chapter of James Leo Herlihy’s novel Midnight Cowboy, the source of the John Schlesinger film starring Dustin Hoffman and Jon Voight, now re-released to mark its 50th anniversary.

The muse
Boris Pasternak’s lover Olga Ivinskaya – a prototype of Doctor Zhivago’s Lara – is interrogated by the Soviets about his masterwork in progress. From The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott.


Sanam Maher: The real Qandeel?
The author of A Woman Like Her discusses Qandeel Baloch, celebrity, the media, honour killing and the law with Mark Reynolds.

Tishani Doshi: Shifting tides
The author of Small Days and Nights talks to Katherine Nathan about writing from life, vitality, beauty, brutality and compassion in modern India.

Mia Couto: Singular dualities
Mark Reynolds talks to the author of Woman of the Ashes about the multiple binary threads that inform the first in his trllogy of novels about warring 19th-century Mozambique and the overthrow of a lame-duck emperor by the Portuguese.

Melanie Cantor: No regrets
The author of Death and Other Happy Endings chats to Katherine Nathan about the pleasures and pitfalls of living like there were no tomorrow.

Wayétu Moore: Liberia then and now
The author of debut novel She Would Be King tells Mark Reynolds about the
colourful myths and history surrounding the birth of her native country.


A neighbourly word
A London mother attempts an apology for her son’s ignorant, racist threats. From Kamala Markandaya’s reissued classic The Nowhere Man.


Let there be light
Mika Provata-Carlone applauds the adept sleight of hand in the best of Tatyana Tolstaya’s latest story collection Aetherial Worlds.

Passion and compassion
Alex Peake-Tomkinson finds much to admire in playwright Regina Porter’s ambitious, multigenerational debut novel The Travelers.

Natalie Haynes’ angry and radical retelling of the Trojan War, A Thousand Ships, falls short of its ambition, writes Mika Provata-Carlone.

Jia Pingwa: Missing person
The author of Broken Wings explains how the novel was informed by the harrowing story of a neighbour’s daughter who was kidnapped and trafficked.

The view from below
Mark Reynolds joins a rapt audience at the Southbank Centre, where Robert Macfarlane discusses Underland, a passionate, profound and poetic exploration of what lies beneath the earth’s crust.

White dreams
Louisa Treger’s The Dragon Lady is a lavish reimagining of Samuel and Ginie Courtauld’s life in 1950s Rhodesia, writes Mika Provata-Carlone.


H.M. Naqvi: All through the night
The author of The Selected Works of Abdullah the Cossack offers a glimpse into his writing habits, inspirations and rituals.

Sara Collins: Stepping into the dark
The debut author of The Confessions of Frannie Langton explains how gothic fiction and a dose of great poetry help make her tick.


Laura Beatty: Insight and wonder

Mika Provata-Carlone discusses freedom and boundaries, the material and the abstract, and being open to mystery with the author of Lost Property.

Ottessa Moshfegh: Just one shot
The author of My Year of Rest and Relaxation talks to Mark Reynolds about addiction, self-image and making the most of our time on earth.

Where the wise and wild things are
Mika Provata-Carlone meets Amanda Brettargh, the dynamic and inspiring pioneer behind Barnes Children’s Literature Festival.


The sea journal
Images from private journals, logbooks, letters and diaries made by intrepid sailors through the ages, collected by Huw Lewis-Jones.

Food: Bigger than the plate
A gallery of images from the V&A’s provocative exhibition about how we grow, distribute and experience food, from compost to table – and back again.

The book of Sarah
Extract from Sarah Lightman’s graphic memoir drawn from two decades of sketchbooks, here charting childhood rivalries and religious doubts.


Elle Nash: Things to do in Denver when you’re a disaffected millennial
The author of Animals Eat Each Other imagines a typical day of dull work and a lousy date for a young woman stuck in dead-end Colorado.


New travels with myself and another
Laura Beatty’s Lost Property is a sublime, profound hybrid between a novel and a philosophical essay, writes Mika Provata-Carlone.

Coming in from the cold
Our resident crime novelist Karin Salvalaggio rediscovers a love for espionage in Kevin Wignall, Tom Wood and Alex Shaw’s latest thrillers To Die in Vienna, Kill For Me and Cold East.


Fatima Bhutto: Lost hearts and souls
The author of The Runaways tells Mark Reynolds about the anger, isolation, alienation and pain that drive young people into radicalisation.

Ece Temelkuran: Disrupt the disrupters
The author and political commentator talks to Katherine Nathan about rising populism, how we can defeat it, and her book How To Lose a Country.


Christine Dwyer Hickey: Homing in on Hopper
The author of The Narrow Land reflects on how the story of a displaced WWII orphan intertwined with the life and landscapes of the great American painter.

A novel in two voices
Vesna Main reflects on how she came to write Good Day? as continuous dialogue between a woman writer and her reader husband.


Docta puella
Lucasta Miller’s L.E.L. is an immaculate portrait of flawed, prophetic ‘female Byron’ Letitia Elizabeth Landon, writes Mika Provata-Carlone.


Flight to Gaza
A stilted conversation on a return from decades of exile. From Raba’i al-Madhoun’s The Lady from Tel Aviv in A Map of Absence: An Anthology of Palestinian Writing on the Nakba.

An unlikely avenger
The means to dispatch an evil interloper claiming to be a hotshot publisher is delivered to Father Cornelius. From A Devil Comes to Town by Paolo Maurensig.

God’s rib
Anton or Adam or Gideon? Amina or Anastasia? A quest for identity leads to erasure on the streets of Rome. From Crossing by Pajtim Statovci.

We are all addicts
From Good Day? by Vesna Main, a novel in dialogue about what happens to a couple when the husband admits to seeing prostitutes.


“Angels you will see only when you’re dead. Possibly.”
Mika Provata-Carlone chats to composer/lyricist Hal Cazalet after a rousing showcase performance of a new musical of Wilde’s The Happy Prince.


Once Upon a Time in the West
A selection of on-set portraits and poster artworks from Christopher Frampton’s richly illustrated book about Sergio Leone’s masterwork.


About a girl
Judith Heneghan explains how Russian snow maiden folklore inflitrated her novel Snegurochka, about market forces and motherhood in 1990s Kiev.


From The Country Between Us
Two powerful poems, ‘The Visitor’ and ‘The Colonel’, from Carolyn Forché’s 1981 collection inspired by events in revolutionary El Salvador, reissued alongside her memoir What You Have Heard Is True.

A poem of love, longing, possible departure and nakedness – in a place where food is prepared. From Jen Campbell’s debut full-length collection The Girl Aquarium.


A complex complicity
Maggie Smith beguiles as Goebbels’ former secretary Brunhilde Pomsel in Christopher Hampton’s A German Life at the Bridge Theatre, writes Mark Reynolds.


A vision of eternity
Mika Provata-Carlone is transfixed by Barrie Tullet’s The Typographic Dante, a sublime, minimalist, abstract interpretation of the Commedia, now on display at the National Poetry Library at the Southbank Centre.


Lisa Blower: Oceans of stories
An elderly resident rues the winds of change and the shrinking of time in a street where once every neighbour looked out for each other. From the collection It’s Gone Dark Over Bill’s Mother’s.


Anti social
Adam Leroux is immortalised by his lewd Instagram posts to the strippers of Philadelphia. From Jarett Kobek’s Only Americans Burn in Hell.

Restless days and nights
A mother and daughter spend a reckless summer adrift on the river and at sea among tattooed sailors. From Feebleminded by Ariana Harwicz.

Landing a whopper
Tall tales from Jerome K. Jerome’s comic classic Three Men in a Boat, from the anthology A Twitch Upon the Thread: Writers on Fishing, edited by Jon Day.


A fetching destination
Noo Saro-Wiwa savours the culture clash of African merchandise in Guangzhou, China. From Margaret Busby’s anthology New Daughters of Africa.

A paean to the death of Central Europe
Mika Provata Carlone reviews Patrick John Corness’s new translation of Józef Wittlin’s The Salt of the Earth, a tense black comedy about a Polish Everyman ensnared by WWI.

Life on the edge
Translator Ellen Jones discusses the joys and challenges of tackling Rodrigo Fuentes’ striking collection of interconnected stories Trout, Belly Up.

Man the measure
Mika Provata-Carlone appraises Simon Critchley’s Tragedy, the Greeks and Us, “an intoxicating dance with words, ideas, texts, the vortex of the life of the mind in the world, and perhaps beyond it.”

Polar bears in Auschwitz
Mika Provata-Carlone finds much to admire in Antonio Iturbe’s The Librarian of Auschwitz, an ambitious retelling of the life of Dita Kraus.

In the midst of life, we are
Mika Provata-Carlone examines Alexandre Montagu’s The Riddle of the Sphinx, a sweeping yet introspective novel of otherness and identity in the life of an Iranian immigrant in America.


Peter Swanson: All in the mind
The author of The Kind Worth Killing and Before She Knew Him picks ten favourite psychological thrillers, featuring Ruth Rendell, Ross Macdonald, Patricia Highsmith and more.


Visions and monsters
Mika Provata-Carlone reviews the Royal Opera’s acclaimed adaptation of Francesca Simon’s The Monstrous Child, and interviews conductor Mark Austin.


Kate Davies: First date
It’s dawning on Julia that she’s been looking for love in all the wrong places. From Kate’s hilarious, raunchy debut In at the Deep End.

First impressions
Extracts from the 2019 EBRD Literature Prize shortlist: Soviet Milk by Nora Ikstena (Latvia), The Devils’ Dance by Hamid Ismailov (Uzbekistan) and Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuc (Poland).

Ayelet Gundar-Goshen: The incident
Socially awkward ice-cream salesgirl Nofar is frozen in time when a fading talent show star is accused of assaulting her. From the novel Liar, translated by Sondra Silverston.

Next year will be even better
Chicago, 1834. Things are looking up for speculator John Wright, in business and perhaps in love. From Jonathan Carr’s Make Me a City.


The cow who wanted to be a dog
Identity issues and conflict in the story ‘Out of the Blue, Perla’, from Rodrigo Fuentes’ collection Trout, Belly Up, translated by Ellen Jones.


Lúcia Bettencourt: Fantasies
An American tourist’s dream of becoming Rio’s carnival queen brings disappointment and scant consolation. Translated by Kim M. Hastings.

Samanta Schweblin: Butterflies
Surreal horror at the school gates as a random act of casual cruelty wreaks terrible revenge. From the collection Mouthful of Birds, translated by Megan McDowell.

Nilton Resende: The supper
A young boy gives his grandfather the runaround with cruel psychological tricks. Translated from the Portuguese by Kim M. Hastings.

David Means: Confessions
A trio of micro stories about the creative process, violence and loss, from his new collection Instructions for a Funeral.

Hamed Habibi: In the light being cast from the kitchen
Sleeplessness, self-doubt and tricks of the imagination. An eerie story from the anthology The Book of Tehran, edited by Fereshteh Ahmadi.


Sheena Kamal: The rage that simmers
The author of Eyes Like Mine and It All Falls Down tells Karin Salvalaggio what drives her enigmatic, unflinching investigator Nora Watts.

Lúcia Bettencourt: The inconstant gardener
The acclaimed Brazilian writer talks to translator Kim M. Hastings about creative seeds, inspirations, and the dashed hopes of Carnival.

Leïla Slimani: We are all monsters
The author of Lullaby and Adèle opens up to Mark Reynolds about her dark creations – and the monsters and mysteries in literature and within us.

Nilton Resende: Good and evil
Translator Kim M. Hastings interviews the Brazilian author, poet, filmmaker and dramaturge about his story ‘The Supper’ and his wider work.

Oyinkan Braithwaite: Blood sisters
Mark Reynolds has a blast meeting the author of My Sister, the Serial Killer, a Nigerian comic noir about getting away with murder.

John Lanchester: Behind the barricades
The author of The Wall tells Mark Reynolds about switching projects mid-stream, a post-climate-collapse Britain, and the taste of seabirds.


Emma Healey: Mothers, daughters and make-believe
The author of Elizabeth is Missing and Whistle in the Dark fills us in on her daily routines, and why she won’t meet her literary heroes.

Jenny Rogenby: Have keyboard will travel
The author of the bestselling Leona Lindberg thrillers offers a glimpse into her globetrotting writing routine.


Pride, prejudice and parathas
Soniah Kamal shares the joy of adapting Jane Austen for Unmarriageable, her riotous take on marriage, class and sisterhood in modern Pakistan.

Writing in the #MeToo era
Sarah Henstra reflects on the five years she took to write her ‘timely’ historical novel The Red Word, about sexual harassment, violence and retaliation on a college campus.


New directions of our past
Mika Provata-Carlone praises Horatio Clare’s Something of his Art, an exuberant retracing of Bach’s footsteps on his 400-km walk to Lübeck.

Just sittin’ here doin’ time
Brett Marie applauds Tom Barbash’s The Dakota Winters, a satisfying New York family saga set in the shadows of John Lennon’s untimely murder.

“I remember a macabre joke…”
Mika Provata-Carlone reviews Hédi Fried’s poignant testimony Questions I Am Asked About the Holocaust, a paean to history and remembrance.

Love, judgement and forgiveness
Mika Provata-Carlone praises the insights and wisdom of Colm Tóibín’s Mad, Bad, Dangerous to Know: The Fathers of Wilde, Yeats and Joyce.

You didn’t understand
Laurent Gaudé’s Hear Our Defeats traces a timeless dance between beauty and widsom, arrogance, greed and destruction, writes Mika Provata-Carlone.


Fantasia in F minor
An old recording kindles buried resentment and fresh sorrow for a young composer and his former protégé. From Sarah Léon’s dazzling debut novel Wanderer.

Soniah Kamal: Wedding plans
Mrs Binat fusses over her daughters to prepare them for snagging their own husbands at the society wedding of the year. From Unmarriageable.

Tommy Wieringa: The crossing
A perilous journey from Africa to Europe, tinged with impending tragedy. From the haunting novella The Death of Murat Idrissi.


William Ryan: Seeking answers to the darkness
The author of A House of Ghosts tells Karin Salvalaggio about the elements and influences behind his pitch-perfect historical thriller.

Claire Fuller: The female gaze
Karin Salvalaggio talks to the author of Bitter Orange about place, suspense, and subverting the male-centric view of the liberating 1960s.


Kingly reads and mistletoes, yule logs, childish games and silent nights
Mika Provata-Carlone conjures up the most magical children’s books to add Christmas sparkle and to entertain and inspire young minds.


West Camel: A remarkable woman
The author of Attend explains how he had to modify his original vision of a 300-year-old woman stalking the streets of modern Deptford.


Sensations and sensibilities
Imogen Hermes Gowar, author of bestselling and highly acclaimed debut The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock, lifts the lid on a typical writing day.


German Calendar No December
After boarding school in Lagos, Olivia leaves Warri to start a new life in Hamburg. From the graphic novel by Sylvia Ofili and Birgit Weyhe.

Cats on the page
A selection of images from the British Library’s free exhibition featuring familiar and not-so-familiar literary felines.


The sins of our future
Mika Provata-Carlone reflects on Hwang Sok-yong’s At Dusk, a delicate Korean tale of memory, regret, and modernisation on a human scale.

John K. Cox: A death in the neighbourhood
The translator of Dogs and Others views Biljana Jovanović’s singular novel in the light of her life and times in a crumbling Yugoslavia.

The mountain king
Mika Provata-Carlone acclaims Volker Weidermann’s Dreamers; a dazzling reconstruction of Germany’s short-lived, writer-led revolution in the aftermath of WWI.


Emiliano Monge: Sons of the jungle
Two battle-hardened young boys lead a ragtag group of desperate refugees across the great border. From Among the Lost.

Michelle Steinbeck: The soothsayer
A glimpse into the future: a journey… a fair man… a separation. From My Father was a Man on Land and a Whale in the Water.

Gina Apostol: An alternate story
From Insurrecto, a fictional road trip through the present-day Philippines and the murky history of Philippine-American relations.

Biljana Jovanović: Loving Milena
The moment the buxom blonde stumbled into the lives of Lidia and her impressionable brother Danilo. From the novel Dogs and Others.


Chuck Caruso: Hatchet job
A harrassed co-worker takes murderous vengeance against his slimy nemesis. From the new gothic story collection The Meaning of Blood.

Franz Kafka: The hunger artist
A classic tale of fame, indifference and artistic compulsion, from The Unhappiness of Being a Single Man: Essential Stories, newly translated by Alexander Starritt.


Black is the badge of hell
Mika Provata-Carlone finds Stephen Greenblatt’s Tyra
nt an engrossing study of Shakespeare’s villains and the innate failings of human nature.


Emma Curtis: Face to face
The author of When I Find You tells Karin Salvalaggio about building a thriller around the little-understood condition of face blindness.


Matteo Righetto: Darker than a deep silence
Italian Alps, 1893. Augusto De Boer and his daughter Jole set out on a treacherous journey into the wilderness to smuggle their tobacco crop into Austria. From Soul of the Border.


Hauntings on the home front
Karin Salvalaggio talks paranormal with S.J.R. Holliday and Michael J. Malone, authors of The Lingering and House of Spines.


The clever monkeys
A troop of monkeys, a hat seller and generations of learning. From The Long Road to Wisdom: Tales from Burma, retold by Jan-Philipp Sendker.


The genius of too much and too little
Mika Provata-Carlone admires Jean Frémon’s Now, Now, Louison, a vivid evocation of Louise Bourgeois’ life and art.

A red sun setting over ruins
Mika Provata-Carlone reflects on the life and influence of Constantine Cavafy, as evoked in Ersi Sotiropoulos’ What’s Left of the Night.

Unlocking vanishing voices
Mika Provata-Carlone reviews The Long Path to Wisdom, Jan-Philipp Sendker’s collection of folk tales, legends and parables from Burma.


Mark Carew: Be creative
The author of The Book of Alexander‘s inspiration tips include using photographs, model-making, paintings and requests to the unconscious.


Julia Darling: My Mauretania
A care home visit opens up magical connections and memories around a model ship, its maker – and its tiny crew. From the collection Pearl.


Singular museums
Edward Carey marks publication of his novel Little, about the life of Madame Tussaud, with an appreciation of eclectic institutions around the world.


James Hanken: Animal
A selection of images from the stunning Phaidon survey of over 300 depictions of the world’s fauna dating back to humankind’s earliest encounters with nature.


Iain Sinclair: Shadows and elevations
Jack London and Leon Kossoff’s contrasting views of Hawksmoor’s Christ Church in Spitalfields. Extract from Living With Buildings, published to accompany a major exhibition at Wellcome Collection about health and the built environment.

Ruqaya Izzidien: The eye of the Tigris
An Iraqi soldier caught up in Baghdad’s British-led revolt against Ottoman rule is discovered dazed and muddied by the banks of the river. From the novel The Watermelon Boys.


Louise Candlish: Location, location
Karin Salvalaggio interrogates the author of tense psychological thriller Our House about living in a bubble and creating unlikeable characters.


Scandal, intrigue and everything in-between
Writing on the move, resisting James Joyce and treasuring John Irving. Goldsboro Books Glass Bell Award shortlistee John Boyne’s A Writer’s Life.


Phenomenal women
Ana Sampson introduces her anthology She Is Fierce, a powerful collection of poems by women from the ancient world to the present day.


Gaia Holmes: Before all this
A lament for pre-smartphone days, when our connections and sensations were more personal, sometimes haphazard, and rarely broadcast. From the collection Where the Road Runs Out.


Unflinching and unforgettable
Irenosen Okojie celebrates Catriona Ward’s Little Eve, a heady psychological whydunnit set between the wars in the Scottish Highlands.

Georgia de Chamberet: Independent voices
The founder of BookBlast introduces the nationwide 10×10 tour showcasing groundbreaking world literature and poetry in translation.

Great expectations untold
Mika Provata-Carlone examines Louisa Deasey’s tantalising memoir A Letter from Paris, which aims to piece together her elusive father’s liaisons, ventures and war experiences.

Isabella Beeton and beating impostor syndrome
How the legendary homemaker’s culinary expertise was wlldly exaggerated. From E. Foley and B. Coates’ What Would Boudicca Do?


Pierre Lemaitre: In too deep
Fifty-something Alain Delambre recruits an expert in hostage-taking to improve his chances of secure employment. From Inhuman Resources.

Charles Lambert: Once in Paris
Soft-core porn writer Jeremy Eldritch’s idle reverie is broken by an abrupt phone call from home. From the novel Prodigal.

Donia Kamal: On Tahrir Square
A woman is compelled to join the heated 2011 demonstrations against President Mubarak in downtown Cairo. From Cigarette Number Seven.

Marc Nash: City limits
The perils of small-town prejudice, the fluidity of language, risk assessment and backing a winner. From Three Dreams in the Key of G.


Richard Skinner: Getting going
The writer and tutor gives Mark Reynolds the lowdown about his new book Writing a Novel: Bring Your Ideas To Life The Faber Academy Way.


The speculative birth of a princess
Extract from Nancy Mitford’s introduction to her 1950 translation of Madame de Lafayette’s The Princesse de Clèves, now reissued by riverrun.

Lorna Goodison: I-land
Jamaica’s Poet Laureate reckons with Kingston life and the benign and deadly allure of the sea. From the essay collection Redemption Ground.

Uncertain regard
Translator Fionn Petch unravels the secrets and impressions of a phantom father in Renato Cisneros’ The Distance Between Us.

Wondering at the world
Mika Provata-Carlone is enthralled by Edith Hall’s Aristotle’s Way, an invigorating exploration of the philosopher’s path to human happiness.


Rachel Heng: Forever people
Mark Reynolds meets the author of Suicide Club, a chilling debut about extreme wellness and the quest for immortality in a future New York.


Nick Salaman, author of The Experimentalists, details his favourite Machiavellian characters in literature and popular culture, from God to Gandalf.


from Passport
Two poems from Richie McCaffery’s new collection: about the power and impotence of symbols, memories of mum, and hanging around in bookshops.

from Cyclone
Two poems from American-born, UK-based Robert Peake’s new collection, about suspect innovations and five ages of life choices.

Love in the time of hospital visits
An ode to enduring love as bodies fade. From Josephine Corcoran’s inventive, haunting and tender debut poetry collection What Are You After?


Laidi Fernández de Juan: Procedures
A woman battles bureaucracy to assert ownership of the family home. From ‘The Trinity of Havana’ in the collection The Book of Havana.


The land where Saturn reigned
Mika Provata-Carlone admires Marcello Fois’ The Time in Between, an immersive story of phantoms and family in desolate post-war Sardinia.

Illustrations for a life unlived
Mika Provata-Carlone is captivated by Jhumpa Lahiri’s masterful translation of Domenico Starnone’s Trick, a rich novel of rage, age and youth.

Blood and feathers
Brett Marie is impressed by the controlled rage of Tommy Orange’s debut novel There There, a powerful testimony of Native American truths.


Thea Lim: The reluctant romantic
The author of An Ocean of Minutes recalls some crucial decisions and guidance during the writing of her daring love-and-time-travel debut.

Kim Sherwood: Over the line
The author of Testament retraces her path through grief, horror and enquiry in the footsteps of scattered Hungarian Holocaust Survivors.

Paul Howarth: Outback to the future
The author of Only Killers and Thieves reflects on the ten years of graft that brought him overnight success.


Mareike Krügel: Horses
An accident in the forest, the ibond between a troubled daughter and mother, and a glimpse into an uncertain future. From Look at Me.

Thea Lim: How it begins
Awkward misgivings and glimpses of compatability sum up their first date; will Polly and Frank stick or twist? From An Ocean of Minutes.


Magritte_Reading_Art_featurePICTURE STORIES
Escaping wars and waves
An extract from Olivier Kugler’s intimate portraits of Syrian refugees, here inside the infamous Jungle Camp in Calais.

Reading art
A gallery of images from David Trigg’s inspiring new compendium of artworks celebrating books and reading through 2,000 years of art history.


Tara Isabella Burton: My sister’s keeper
Brett Marie talks to the author of debut novel Social Creature about decadence, privilege, anxiety, impostor syndrome and life as an avatar.


Tishani Doshi: Saying it out loud
Mark Reynolds talks to the poet and dancer about her dazzling, forthright and lyrical new collection Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods.


Girls are coming out of the woods
The title poem in Tishani Doshi’s new collection is a blistering call for anger and resistance against a rising tide of sexual assault in India.

from Flood
Two poems from Clare Shaw’s new collection; reflections on storm damage, loss, devastation and recovery in nature and in the soul.


Miranda Doyle: Stitching up our mouths
The author of A Book of Untruths discusses the ethics of life writing, privacy and expression with fellow memoirist Joanne Limburg.



With love and squalor
Mika Provata-Carlone surveys Anna Maria Ortese’s Evening Descends Upon the Hills, a Neapolitan classic that inspired Elena Ferrante.

Glimmers of destiny
Mircea Eliade’s Gaudeamus is a candid record of his formative years and a window to a world beyond its pages, writes Mika Provata-Carlone.

Mark Polizzotti: On translation
A necessary evil or the road to cross-cultural understanding and enrichment? Extract from Sympathy for the Traitor: A Translation Manifesto.

Charlotte Coombe: The masterful Margarita
The translator of Margarita García Robayo’s Fish Soup recalls the pleasures and challenges of interpreting its two novellas and seven stories.

Piercing prisms and Persian perspectives
Mika Provata-Carlone enjoys Négar Djavadi’s Disoriental: “a waterfall of words and memories; of emotional states and the most intimate states of being.”


Margarita García Robayo: Moisture
The timeless dance of teenage rebellion versus the psychedelic maze of temptation and piety. From the novella Sexual Education in Fish Soup.

Paul Howarth: Wrong side of the tree line
The McBride brothers encounter an old antagonist out in the bush, in the company of a ragged unit of Mounted Native Police. From Only Killers and Thieves.


Elizabeth Strout: The starving father-man
A sculpture loaded with meaning. Extract from My Name is Lucy Barton, now adapted for the stage by Rona Munro, starring Laura Linney.


Marcia Daley-Ward aka ‘mum’
An extract from Yrsa Daley-Ward’s memoir The Terrible, about her mother’s move from Kingston, Jamaica to Chorley as a vulnerable 14-year-old.


Doug Johnstone: Other worlds
The author of Fault Lines selects the off-kilter novels and stories, from Atwood to Vonnegut,  that helped inform his alternate, volcanic Edinburgh.


Lewis and Ernest and Hadley
A letter of introduction, first impressions, a sparring contest and the beginnings of a lasting friendship. When Lewis met Hemingway in Paris. From Galantière by Mark Lurie.


Around the world in 80 trees
Drawings and stories from Jonathan Drori and Lucille Clerc’s illuminating examination of how trees play a role in every part of human life.

Astérix in Britain
Images from the exhibition at the Jewish Museum London celebrating the life and work of René Groscinny, starring his best-loved creation.

A gallery of some of the dazzling and grizzly artefacts and instruments from the history of dentistry in Wellcome Collection’s summer exhibition.


Rana Haddad: The truth about love
Don’t believe everything a boy – or your grandma – tells you about attachment and desire. From The Unexpected Love Objects of Dunya Noor.

David Hewson: A family feud
It began with a row over competing vines… Extract from Juliet & Romeo, a dramatic retelling of Shakespeare’s best-known tale.

Négar_Djavadi_400Manu Joseph: Tremors
Akhila returns from her morning run to see a curious gathering outside her Mumbai apartment block. From the novel Miss Laila, Armed and Dangerous.


Négar Djavadi: Neither here nor there
Mark Reynolds and Farhana Gani meet the author of Disoriental, a richly entertaining novel about identity, family and culture clash in pre-Revolutionary Iran and contemporary Paris.

Courtney Zoffness: Connections and capabilities
Mark Reynolds meets the winner of the 2018 Sunday Times Short Story Award for the delicately provocative ‘Peanuts Aren’t Nuts’.

Finding stories in America’s heartland
Karin Salvalaggio chats to Laura McHugh about her latest novel Arrowood, the pull of small towns, coincidences, crime and missing persons.


Passing the acid test
Tracy Quan appreciates the slow-burn influence of Tom Wolfe’s radical ideas, organised brashness and ready humour on his fellow writers.

The solid case for ambiguity
Mika Provata-Carlone admires Javier Cercas’s engagingly contentious The Blind Spot: An Essay on the Novel; a treatise on writing and being.

Alejandro Zambra: Against poets
Poets may fail and fail again but deep in their souls they know their words are our only hope. From the essay collection Not to Read.

Outsiders within
Sharon Bala explains how past and present refugee crises informed her debut novel The Boat People, about Sri Lankans fleeing bloody civil war.

Six white robins
Mika Provata-Carlone welcomes Bryan Karetnyk’s latest beguiling Gaito Gazdanov translation, The Beggar and Other Stories.


Intimate tales
Editor Eric Akoto introduces the 2018 Litro Summer Literary & Arts weekender, featuring captivating writers from South Korea and India.


Beyond the abyss
Debut author Laurie Canciani (The Insomnia Museum) recalls how she almost quit her Creative Writing MA, and reflects on the value of persistence over self-doubt.

A beginning
How Patrick Langley’s chance sighting of two young brothers at Plumstead station may have sparked his dark and tender debut novel Arkady.


Wonders beyond words
Mark Reynolds talks to director Todd Haynes, writer Brian Selznick and child actors Oakes Fegley and Jaden Michael about the making of Wonderstruck.


Salley Vickers: Daydream believer
The author of Miss Garnet’s Angel and The Cleaner of Chartres introduces her new novel The Librarian and reflects on her reading and writing.

Natasha Carthew: Living on the edge
The author of All Rivers Run Free shares her reading and writing habits, and literary heroes including Dorothy Allison and Cormac McCarthy.


Teenage heaven
Circe and Szu are gripped by the shopping bug as they meander through the air-conditioned shopping malls of blazing Singapore. From Ponti by Sharlene Teo.

A splendid shiny car
Daddy keeps his head down indoors and Mummy fusses as a suave stranger drives into the neighbourhood. From Estonian director Ilmar Taska’s debut novel Pobeda 1946.


Lily Bailey: OCD and me
The writer and model opens up to Mark Reynolds about her OCD memoir Because We Are Bad, and wishes there was a different word for positive obsession.


Answers without questions
Mika Provata-Carlone examines Heidi Sopinka’s The Dictionary of Animal Languages, an ambitious but elliptical take on the life of the great Surrealist Leonora Carrington.

We need to talk about nanny
Karin Salvalaggio finds Leîla Slimani’s Lullaby an unsettling, engrossing and essential examination of motherhood, race and class.

Recapturing infinity in the present
Mika Provata-Carlone welcomes the vivid, contrasting narratives of Fela and Felix Rosenbloom’s post-Holocaust memoir Miracles Do Happen.

Beyond imagining
Clarence Major introduces Anthony Grooms’ The Vain Conversation, a fictional account of the real-life murder of two black couples in Walton County, Georgia in 1946.

Crying wolf
Playwright Roland Schimmelpfennig’s debut novel, One Clear Ice-Cold January Morning at the Beginning of the 21st Century is a shimmering triumph, writes Mika Provata-Carlone.

Lily Bailey: Not alone
A childhood revelation, and the first steps inside a support group. Two short extracts from Lily Bailey’s OCD memoir Because We Are Bad.


The Grand Casino Estoril
At a luxury resort on the Portuguese Riviera, Ian Fleming closely observes a dashing double agent. From the novel Estoril by Dejan Tiago-Stanković.


Jonathan Ames: Tough love
The gripping opening of You Were Never Really Here, now adapted by Lynne Ramsay as a major film starring Joaquin Phoenix.


Petra Hůlová: Gender agendas
Mark Reynolds talks to the award-winning Czech novelist and playwright about her latest novel in English, Three Plastic Rooms, and her wider work.


Hannah Vincent: Step by step
The author of Alarm Girl and The Weaning shares her tips for writing from life experience, whether for fiction or autobiography.


Glimpses of unfamiliar France
Mika Provata-Carlone sees echoes of Chekhov, Flaubert and Bashō in Toshiyuki Horie’s wise and questioning The Bear and the Paving Stone.

Riddled words, puzzled lives
Mika Provata-Carlone decodes Jeremy Gavron’s Felix Culpa, a daring, alchemic novel made up of sourced lines from a hundred literary classics.

Joe Thomas: Crackland
The author of Paradise City and Gringa examines the gentrification and social cleansing of Sào Paulo that inform his ongoing crime series.

New happiness
Mika Provata-Carlone reviews Nora Ikstena’s Soviet Milk, a sweeping intergenerational tale of Latvia’s recent past and singular soul.

Through the valley of shades
Frances Wilson introduces Brian Dillon’s In the Dark Room, an acclaimed book of essays on mourning and memory, out now in a new edition.

The end of the world that never came
Mika Provata-Carlone reviews Joan Sales’ Winds of the Night; an arresting, idiosyncratic account of the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath.

Alafair Burke: Outside in
The author of The Wife reflects on how her past work in the criminal justice system influences her writing in ever more subtle ways.

Blossoming on
Translator Alison Entrekin discusses the profound simplicity of José Mauro de Vasconcelos’ timeless Brazilian classic My Sweet Orange Tree.

Magic in the mists
Agustín Pico Estrada, the author’s son, introduces Sara Gallardo’s rediscovered and newly translated story collection Land of Smoke.

When time disappeared
Mika Provata-Carlone reviews Françoise Frenkel’s newly translated memoir No Place to Lay One’s Head, about fleeing Nazi terror while clinging to hope and faith.


Alafair Burke: Who’s there?
When the police come calling to investigate her husband’s whereabouts, Angela Powell trusts to instinct and deception. From The Wife.

Leïla Slimani: To watch over them
Stifled by young motherhood, Myriam Charfa recruits the perfect nanny and resumes her legal career. From the chillling Prix Goncourt winning thriller Lullaby.


Melanie Benjamin: Flickers of memory
In 1969, a hesitant Frances Marion pays a visit to her former collaborator, silent screen star Mary Pickford. From The Girls in the Picture.


Many a woman scorned
Karin Salvalagio talks to Sarah Vaughan about Anatomy of a Scandal, her timely novel about sexual politics, victimhood, loyalty and doubt.


Sara Gallardo: A secret
A beguiling short story about love and betrayal from the rediscovered, newly translated Argentinian modern classic collection Land of Smoke.

Helen Garner: The life of art
A woman reflects on the joys, despair, support, companionship and broken connections across a decades-old friendship.

Vesna Main: The hair clasp
A woman and her daughter’s visit to the beach brings devastation and distraction. From the debut collection Temptation: A User’s Guide.

Rusudan Rukhadze: Dad after Mum
Cherished memories of a fading parent and a distant Georgian summer, from the new collection The Book of Tbilisi.


Antti Tuomainen: Beyond noir
The author of The Man Who Died reflects on his switch from straight noir to black comedy, and tells Mark Reynolds about his key influences.


Angry young, frail old man
Sunny Singh, author of Amitabh Bachchan in the BFI Film Stars series, picks her personal favourites among the Bollywood icon’s 200+ films.


The world that watches
Mika Provata-Carlone praises A Chill in the Air, a previously unpublished slice of Iris Origo’s remarkable war diaries, written  as Mussolini drags Italy into conflict.

Near death – and resurrection
Sunny Singh recalls the national panic as India’s No.1 star has a life-threatening accident on set. From BFI Film Stars: Amitabh Bachchan.

All, nothing and everything in between
Mika Provata-Carlone weighs up Mojca Kumerdej’s The Harvest of Chronos, a bold, ambitious, multilayered novel about Slovenian identity.

Winnie-the-Pooh: Exploring a classic
A selection of images from the V&A’s captivating new exhibition of Pooh drawings, manuscripts, memorabilia and interactive installations.


A perpetual advent calendar
Mika Provata-Carlone presents a seasonal round-up of children’s books for all ages and tastes, packed with fun, solace and wisdom.


Minoo Dinshaw: Picking a subject
The author of Outlandish Knight, a biography of Steven Runciman, explains how he was drawn to the life of the great medieval historian.


Sally Rooney: Down to a T
The author of Conversations with Friends, winner of the 2017 Sunday Times/PFD Young Writer Award, answers our quickfire Q&A.


A bear in a million
Paddington 2 is the pick of the latest film releases, The Killing of a Sacred Deer hits the spot, and Kenneth Brannagh’s Orient Express gets stuck in the sidings, writes Mark Reynolds.


Lilja Sigurðardóttir: Caught in a trap
Karin Salvalaggio is entranced by Lilja Sigurðardóttir’s Snare, the first in a startlingly original new crime trilogy.

Lina Meruane: Blood in the eye
The author of Seeing Red talks to Mark Reynolds about fictionalising an episode of blindness to explore heightened senses and emotions.

Claire Messud: Craft and fusion
The author of The Burning Girl tells Alex-Peake Tomkinson about returning themes in her fiction and riffing on adolescence and friendship.


1947_290Unquiet spirits

Mika Provata-Carlone admires Elisabeth Åsbrink’s 1947: Where Now Begins; an incisive commentary on the roots of contemporary society.

Flowers in a jam jar
Mika Provata-Carlone reviews Giorgio van Straten’s In Search of Lost Books, “an eloquent, philosophical display of exceptional absences.”

An absence full of presence
Mark Mazower’s family history What You Did Not Tell is a rhapsodic inquiry that leaves some big questions hanging, says Mika Provata-Carlone.

A.M. Bakalar: The devil you know
A joyful puzzle webbed in truth and lies: Mirjana Novaković’s Fear and His Servant conjures up 18th-century Serbia under Austrian rule.

Brett Marie: Written in my soul
A new collection of 100 of Bob Dylan’s best lyrics confirms the Nobel committee were right to award him literature’s biggest prize.

Oliver Tearne: Having words in Manchester
How physician Peter Mark Roget introduced a digressive system for writing and reflection, and became synonymous with his popular creation. From Britain by the Book.

Mika Provata-Carlone: The truth of the lie
How Javier Cercas’ biographical novel The Impostor, about alleged Nazi victim Enric Marco illuminates the nature of history and fiction.

A.M. Bakalar: Us and them
The author of Children of Our Time reflects on her politically charged tale of Polish immigrants embroiled in people trafficking.

The_Evenings_featureSam Garrett: Boy wanderer
Sam Garrett reflects on the thirty-five years spanning his first reading and subsequent translation of Gerard Reve’s postwar Dutch classic The Evenings.

Stilted life
Mika Provata-Carlone unravels Nicola Lagioia’s Strega Prize-winning novel Ferocity and finds its bold ambition undermined by stereotype and unfulfilled salvation.

Luke McCallin: In the zone
How the author researched the daily grind for Allies and locals among the rubble and chaos of post-war Germany for the new Gregor Reinhardt novel The Ashes of Berlin.


Magritte: This is not a biography
Extract from Vincent Zabus and Thomas Campi’s graphic journey through Magritte’s imaginative landscape, a joyous mix of fact and fiction.

Harry Potter: A history of magic
Mystical manuscripts and paranormal paraphernalia from the British Library’s enchanting new exhibition.

Darryl Cunningham: Graphic science
Sample pages from his hand-drawn celebration of seven unsung heroes of science, depicting the life of fossil-hunter Mary Anning.


Tom Browne: Laughter in the dark
Why Armando Iannucci’s brilliant new comedy The Death of Stalin gets closer to historical accuracy than any number of heritage dramas.

Tove Jansson: Taking an interest in the meerschaum tram
Prologue to The Memoirs of Moominpappa, now published for the first time in the UK in a stunning series of Moomins collectors’ editions.


Jen Campbell: Bright white hearts
Ruminations on mermaids, colour, fluoresence, invisibility, evolution, identity and love within the walls and tanks of the aquarium. From the collection The Beginning of the World in the Middle of the Night.

Agnieszka Dale: A happy nation
Krystyna Kowalska, the last Polish person left in Britain, is interviewed at home by an all-too familiar immigration officer.

Hassan Blasim: “Don’t kill me, I beg you. This is my tree.”
An Iraqi immigrant in Finland confronts his violent past. From the anthology The Dark Blue Winter Overcoat, edited by Sjón and Ted Hodgkinson.


Tony Williams: Learning from the masters
The author of Nutcase explains how Icelandic sagas helped shape his novel about a young vigilante growing up on a Sheffield sink estate.


Srephanie Hutton: What to do when you can’t do anything
A mother explodes in hopeless rage as her three-year-old daughter clings to life on a hospital ward. From The Mechanics’ Institute Review.

Peter Ackroyd: The first killings
What could link the gruesome murders of a young prostitute and a Jewish scholar in Victorian London? Extract from The Limestone Golem, now a major film starring Bill Nighy, Douglas Booth and Olivia Cooke.


Jia Pingwa: It must be love
Happy Liu invites beloved prostitute Yichun to his less than humble lodgings. Extract from Happy Dreams, translated by Nicky Harman.

Pajtim Statovci: The whiskered stranger
An encounter with a sleek, alluring, intolerant talking feline who appears to have come to a gay bar by mistake. From My Cat Yugoslavia.


A study in scarlet
Sample pages from a new graphic novel edition of Sherlock Holmes’ first case, interpreted by Ian Edgington and I.N.J. Culbard via Arthur Conan Doyle.


Navid Kermani: Lamentation
A study of the pietà at St Kunibert, Cologne from his captivating appraisal of Christian art and iconography Wonder Beyond Belief.

Nicky Harman: Never happier
“Translation is the art of negotiation and compromise'” says the translator of Jia Pingwa’s contemporary Chinese satire Happy Dreams.

Under the sign of eternity
Georgia Blain’s final book The Museum of Words is a powerful and evocative private essay on the end of being, writes Mika Provata-Carlone.

Adventures of the imagination
Julia Bell introduces the latest story anthology in the annual Mechanics’ Institute Review, curated by Birkbeck Creative Writing  students.

The life-lie
Mika Provata-Carlone finds echoes of Tony Harrison in Kerstin Hensel’s startling emotional journey of moral conscience Dance by the Canal.

The unbearable burden of non-being
Mika Provata-Carlone admires Żanna Słoniowska’s The House with the Stained-Glass Window, an intricate, opulent tale of lived lives in Lviv.

Fyodor Dostoevsky: A lie is saved by a lie
How Don Quixote proves that a crude fantasy, lovingly embraced, resolves doubt. From The Russian Soul: Selections from A Writer’s Diary.

An Amazon dreaming of Arcadia
Mika Provata-Carlone finds drama and dignity in Chantel Acevedo’s The Living Infinite, examining the early life of Infanta Eulalia of Spain.

Gall and barefaced daring
Helen Garner introduces Barbara Baynton’s classic story collection Bush Studies. From the essay collection Everywhere I Look.

The malediction of Minerva
Mika Provata-Carlone embraces The Last Attachment, Iris Origo’s painstaking account of Lord Byron’s passionate affair with Teresa Guiccioli.

Disquiet revisited
Margaret Jull Costa introduces her new translation of the definitive Complete Edition of  Fernando Pessoa’s masterwork The Book of Disquiet.

Message in two suitcases
Mika Provata-Carlone finds Ernest van der Kwast’s Mama Tandoori a witty, vital and tender portrait of dual culture and identity in the Indian-spiced Netherlands.

The Leica way
Lars Mytting’s The Sixteen Trees of the Somme is a delicate weave of stark simplicity and mesmeric complexity, writes Mika Provata-Carlone.


Kate Murray-Browne: Buyer beware!
The author of The Upstairs Room tells Alex Peake-Tomkinson about finding horror in the everyday and the terrors of moving house.

Iosi Havilio: Getting away with it
The Argentinian author talks to Mark Reynolds about Petite Fleur, his feverishly dark comic novel about serial murder and domesticity.

Diksha Basu: On the money
The author of The Windfall discusses Delhi society, sudden wealth, social climbing, marriage, citizenship and patriotism with Farhana Gani.

Olivia Sudjic: Between dreams
The author of Sympathy tells Mark Reynolds how an investigation into 17th-century pseudoscience led to an unsettling satire on hyperconnectivity and identity.

Samanta Schweblin: Passion and terror
The author of Fever Dream talks about facing your demons, psychoanalysis, screenwriting, translation and being a contender for the Man Booker International Prize.

Hari Kunzru: Between the grooves
The author of White Tears chats to Alex Peake-Tomkinson about musical appropriation and race relations in New York City and Essex.

Juliet West: Back to black
Claire Fuller quizzes the author of The Faithful about approaching a love story set against the backdrop of the UK’s 1930s fascist movement.


Santorini_featureSHORT STORIES
Barbara Baynton: The chosen vesssel
An intruder lurks as a woman cradles her baby in an undefendable shack. Classic Australian horror from the 1902 collection Bush Studies.

Mary Gaitskill: Description
Old friends on a mountain hike confront home truths, health scares and deep-seated rivalries. From the new story collection Don’t Cry.

Jim Shepard: Cretan love song
A moment of clarity, compassion and companionship in the face of the catastrophic Minoan eruption of Thera. From the collection The World to Come.


Enduring grief
P.K Lynch, author of Wildest of All, chooses books and films that combine sorrow and humanity to help us understand life’s pains and losses.

Going it alone
Marking publication of her frank, funny and affecting memoir My Shitty Twenties, Emily Morris picks her favourite single mums in literature.

Nick Laird: Summer at Sheep’s Head
On a city break from his West Cork retreat, the author of Modern Gods discusses his writing habits, influences and inspirations.


Naomi Hamill: The first bride
In the aftermath of war, making marriages is one of the first steps towards a new normality. From How to Be a Kosovan Bride.

Emily R. Austin: Not selling anything
Taking the rise out of her dead-end call centre job gives slim respite from Jane’s darkest memories, doubts and fears. From Oh Honey.

Antoine Laurain: Under the hammer
Obsessive collector Pierre-François Chaumont resolves to own an 18th-century painting whose subject bears an uncanny resemblance to himself. From The Portrait.

Marie-Sabine Roger: Doctor’s Orders
A groggy Jean-Pierre Fabre wakes up in hospital with only a sketchy memory of how he came to be fished from the Seine. From Get Well Soon.


Abu Ghraib_featureWhat’s in a picture

Sarah Sentilles examines the power of photography to shape and distort our views on war and persecution. From Draw Your Weapons.

A biblical paradise
“A hypnotic, erudite and riveting analysis of why we lose and find ourselves in the pages of books.” Mika Provata-Carlone admires Damon Young’s The Art of Reading.

Curious about curiosity
From Batman to Borges, keeping a sense of childlike wonder and bending to the writer’s will aid understanding. From The Art of Reading.

Suspicious country
Extract from Nina Riggs’ posthumous memoir The Bright Hour, a bold, poetic, wise and affirmative meditation on living with terminal illness.

Elegy in E minor
Mika Provata-Carlone relishes Madame Bovary of the Suburbs, Sophie Divry’s languid yet full-bodied contemporary recalibration of Flaubert.

Every way out
The 2017 Polari First Book Prize shortlist throws up eclectic and provocative fact and fiction about the LGBT experience from Cardiff to Kuwait.

Never a dull word
Translator Gini Alhadeff marvels at the powerful economy of Fleur Jaeggy’s prose in her long-awaited new collection I Am the Brother of XX, together with an exquisite extract: Cat.

In the shadow of Poe
Poe scholar and genre writer Chuck Caruso, whose debut crime novel The Lawn Job is just out, tracks the influence of the master of mystery on Conan Doyle, Christie, Hammett, Highsmith and more.

Gila Lustiger: It is us they burn
Extract from the award-winning essay ‘We Are Not Afraid’ in response to the Paris terror attacks, linking the events to the 2005 youth riots.


The summer Smiley saved me
On the release of her new novel Yuki Means Happiness, Alison Jean Lester reflects on a solitary time in Taiwan when she devoured the works of le Carré.

Catherine Banner: Innocents uncovered
The author of The House at the Edge of Night recounts how a visit to Florence’s 15th-century foundling hospital – the Ospedale degli Innocenti – sparked her new novel.


S.V. Berlin: Best intentions
“Think like a psychologist or serial killer profiler.” The author of debut novel The Favourite, a twisting tale of sibling rivalry, shares her tips for aspiring writers.


Reality check
Clare’s new boyfriend is creepily overprotective. Extract from Melanie Joosten’s Berlin Syndrome, now a tense psychosexual thriller directed by Cate Shortland and starring Teresa Palmer.


After shock
In a talk at the Southbank Centre, No Is Not Enough author Naomi Klein explains why burnt-out Grenfell Tower is a monument to neoliberalism.

Alpine dreams
Mika Provata-Carlone examines the twisting, self-inflicted nightmares of a tormented writer in Daniel Kehlmann’s You Should Have Left.

A dream of good fortune
Mika Provata-Carlone finds Korean master Hwang Sok-yong’s Familiar Things a darkly lyrical epic from the most grippingly raw human material.

Sun on grey water
Mika Provata-Carlone examines Anthony Cartwright’s gripping and poignant novel The Cut, which holds up a mirror to a British society riven by divisions, duplicity and distrust in the Brexit era.

Bitter chocolate and the laughter of tears
Mika Provata-Carlone delights in Teffi’s consumately quirky memoir of exile across Russia in the wake of the disintegration of Tsarist rule.

Watching the river flow
Brett Marie dives into J. Robert Lennon’s Broken River, a dizzying domestic thriller about deceit and danger.

Howling whispers
Mika Provata-Carlone is blown away by House of Names, Colm Tóibín’s passionately amplified and distilled reworking of the Oresteia.


David F. Ross: Morrissey built my bookshelf
The author of The Man Who Loved Islands admits his first creative impulses came not from reading, but from immersion in the lyrics of his music idols.


Eka Kurniawan: Smitten
Jakarta tough guy Ajo Kawir takes on more than he bargained for when he encounters the female bodyguard of his latest quarry. From Vengeance Is Mine, All Others Pay Cash.

Anthony Cartwright: A new day
Dramatic events and unusual stirrings in Perry Barr and at the Hampstead Ladies’ Pond as Cairo and Grace change plans. Extract from The Cut.

Yuri Herrera: A song for the king
The Artist enters the Palace for his one shot at worming his way into the King’s inner circle of wealth and power. From Kingdom Cons.

Hwang Sok-yong: Filthy treasures at Flower Island
On the outskirts of Seoul, 14-year-old Bugeye and his mum report to work picking trash from a landfill dump. From Familiar Things.

J. Robert Lennon: The house by the woods
A family hoping to silence its own demons moves into a once-derelict home with a diabolical history. A chilling extract from Broken River.

Benjamin Ludwig: Forever girl
The electronic baby won’t stop crying. Welcome to the world of Ginny Moon, a girl who sees the world differently but tries as hard as she might to make it all make sense.

Nicholas Royle: Immortality
A brilliant young critic is cut down before his prime, cementing an enduring legacy. From the novel An English Guide to Birdwatching.


Tove Jansson: Premonitions
Frida Andresson has troubling visions, but is unable to foresee her ultimate fate. From the story collection Letters to Klara.

Cristina Fernández Cubas: A fresh start
A woman mourning the passing of her life partner takes a fragmented journey to the joyful beginnings of their great love affair.


Jon McGregor: The long and short of it
The author of Reservoir 13 explains how he populated his broad canvas of Peak District country life via a series of detailed observations, and talks about his passions for short fiction, letter writing and the open air.

Bret Anthony Johnston: Tricks at the top
The 2017 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award winner tells Mark Reynolds about piecing the winning story together and the parallels between writing and skateboarding.


Laurent Gaudé: In the shadow of Vesuvius
The author of Hell’s Gate explains why Naples offered a perfect setting for his modern-day exploration of a descent into the underworld.


The dream of a ridiculous man
Mika Provata-Carlone rejoices in the reissue of Egon Hostovsky’s The Hideout, an overlooked classic of World War II Czech literature.

Through a mirror darkly
Mika Provata-Carlone examines Natalie Haynes’ The Children of Jocasta, a retelling of the Oedipus and Antigone myths from the perspectives of Jocasta and Ismene.

Raoul Martinez: Freedom from democracy
How the electoral process and government policy are controlled by corporations – and why this must be stopped. Extract from Creating Freedom.

Where unhapiness ends: Naples beyond Ferrante
Mika Provata-Carlone absorbs the 3,000-year history and rich literary and cultural landscape of the ancient Greeks’ myth-laden ‘New City’.

Lives in black and white
Mika Provata-Carlone praises Meike Ziervogel’s The Photographer, a powerful, poignant portrait of fragmented lives in post-war Germany.

The Talleyrand of East Africa
Dominic Dromgoole recalls an aftershow party in Djibouti hosted by a decidedly French British Consul. From Hamlet: Globe to Globe.
Win a copy of the book.

Nir Baram: Over the wall
The author of A Land Without Borders sets out on a journey along the Green Line in search of resolution to the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

A breath of sadness
Mika Provata-Carlone sees beauty and compassion in The Orange Grove, Larry Tremblay’s visceral account of some of the most brutal chapters in human history.

Ian Nairn: The opposite of Birmingham
Timeless descriptions of some of the French capital’s major monuments and overlooked attractions. From Nairn’s Paris, now reissued by Notting Hill Editions.

Catching the past
Mika Provata-Carlone unpicks Otto de Kat’s latest tireless attempt to solve the puzzle of human remembrance in The Longest Night.


A thousand coloured castles
Extract from Gareth Brookes’ new graphic novel, a surreal and sensitive examination of suburban living and ways of seeing, drawn in wax crayon.

Russian Revolution: Hope, tragedy, myths
A selection of images from the new exhibition at the British Museum marking the centenary of the world-changing events of 1917, curated by Katya Rogatchevskaia and Susan Reed.


Poets, pedants and survivors
Mark Reynolds takes in a fresh batch of book adaptations and biopics, including A Sense of an Ending, Lady Macbeth and Mend the Living.


Civil rights and wrongs
Lucy Scholes admires Raoul Peck’s visionary documentary I Am Not Your Negro, a stirring evocation of James Baldwin’s writings and campaigns.

A positive betrayal
Director Ritesh Batra, screenwriter Nick Payne, author Julian Barnes and a cast including Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling and Emily Mortimer discuss bringing The Sense of an Ending to the screen.


A selective objective
Extracts from the six stories shortlisted for the 2017 Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award, by Kathleen Alcott, Bret Anthony Johnstone, Richard Lambert, Victor Lodato, Celeste Ng and Sally Rooney. Can you pick a winner?


Pennyfeather is sent down
The opening chapters of Evelyn Waugh’s sparkling college satire Decline and Fall, now a major BBC One series starring Jack Whitehall, Eva Longoria and David Suchet.


Peter Shafer: An immortal life
Mika Provata-Carlone attends an illuminating evening at the National Theatre celebrating the life and work of the late playwright, with performances by his peers.


Fearless flourish
Musa Okwonga admires the range, ambition and acuity of Irenosen Okojie’s Jhalak Prize-shortlisted story collection Speak Gigantular.


Terrifying tales
Xan Brooks, author of The Clocks in This House All Tell Different Times, picks ten top reads about tormented child adventurers.

Turn me into a monster
As his novel The Impossible Fortress celebrates the early days of MTV, Jason Rekulak picks ten memorable pop videos by notable directors, including Brian de Palma’s Michael Jackson and Sam Peckinpah’s… Julian Lennon?.


Mohsin Hamid: Moving on
The author of Exit West chats to Mark Reynolds about migrations, mindfulness, nation states, staying human – and watching for lions.

Tim Murphy: Shouting out
The author of Christodora discusses his multi-stranded, cross-generational novel about the AIDS crisis and its aftermath with Lucy Scholes.

Laura McVeigh: Journeys of the mind
The author of Under the Almond Tree discusses Tolstoy, Afghanistan, refugees, displacement, and two oddly similar but distant Emerald Isles.

Steven Uhly: A life of encounters
The author of Kingdom of Twilight discusses selective memory, creativity, judgement and living with the past, with Mika Provata-Carlone.

Chris Cleave: Across the divide
The author of Everyone Brave Is Forgiven talks to Alex Peake-Tomkinson about addiction, trauma, intuition and telling a story from all sides.

Nathan Hill: Unpuzzling it all
The author of The Nix chats to Mark Reynolds about truth and fiction, obsessive gaming, Meryl Streep as his mom and meeting your heroes.

Michael_Chabon_420Michael Chabon: Flying high
The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist talks to Mark Reynolds about Moonglow, the space race, a mixed bag of movies and confronting the Israeli Occupation.

Alexandra Kleeman: Places in between
Lucy Scholes chats to the author of You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine about our obsessions with onsumerism, commodification and conformity.

Welcome to dystopia
Mark Reynolds talks to writer-directors Jörg Tittel and Alex Helfrecht about their unsettling adaptation of György Dragomán’s The White King.

Claire Fuller: A family at sea
Juliet West quizzes the author of Swimming Lessons about mothers and daughters, family secrets, art, nature and aromas as colour.

Chibundu Onuzo: Sticking together
The author of Welcome to Lagos tells Mark Reynolds about her vibrant story of a band of runaways seeking a new life in Nigeria’s megacity, and getting into a dodgy scrape with a corrupt government minister.


Laurent Gaudé: The river of tears
In the Land of the Dead, Matteo encounters a lost friend as he approaches tumultuous waters heaving with tormented souls. From Hell’s Gate.

Alain Mabanckou: Pioneers Awake!
In 1970s Congo, a Marxist-Leninist revolution ushers in a new age – of corruption and terror. Extract from Black Moses by Alain Mabanckou.

David Vann: For Hekate
Medea seeks forest potions and sacrifices to appease the goddess of sorcery. From Bright Air Black, a dazzling retelling of the Greek myth.

Dorthe Nors: Driving to Distraction
Sonja has been taking driving lessons for six months but her instructor won’t let her change gear. From Mirror, Shoulder, Signal.

Sabahattin Ali: All the women I ever imagined
An encounter with a haunting self-portrait melts the indifference of a man suspicious of modern art. Extract from the stunning nre translation of Madonna in a Fur Coat by Maureen Freely and Alexander Dawe.

Heinz Helle: Something burned here
Chilling discoveries and sharp memories from Euphoria, Helle’s stark and poetic evocation of the repressed savagery of human nature and the evaporation of society.

Shanthi Sekaran: Time to go
Solimar Castro-Valdez resolves to flee the forgotten village of Santa Clara Popocalco and start a new life beyond the Mexican border. From Lucky Boy.

Kayla Rae Whitaker: First night
Mel Vaught and Sharon Kisses hole up in the toilets getting high ahead of the premiere of their first cartoon feature. From The Animators.


Liam Hogan: Internet dating for immortals
After 900 years of sorrowful break-up after break-up, will a chance encounter on Tinder see old George finally meet his match?

Orlando Ortega-Medina: The shovelist
Retiree Guillaume Morin is urged by his wife to keep earning extra cash shovelling snow after new neighbours move in. From Jerusalem Ablaze.


Facts_of_Life_feature_colourPICTURE STORIES
Paula Knight: The facts of life
Extract from the touching graphic memoir about not-quite motherhood, the meaning of family and moving on.


Peter Swanson: sophisticated murder
The author of The Kind Worth Killing and Her Every Fear owes a debt of gratitude to Alfred Htchcock for an introduction to thrillers and the understanding that less is best.


I, Octavio
The author of Octavio’s Journey reveals crossovers between myth and biography – and a white lie that helped his debut novel see the light of day.


Tim Pears: Keeping it pastoral
Having put tutoring on pause to devote himself to his new trilogy, the author of The Horseman discusses his writing and reading habits.

Shanthi Sekaran: Seeking the zing
The author of Lucky Boy talks creative sparks, writing boltholes, literary heroes, and casting the Italian World Cup squad in The Godfather.


The wisdom of parrots
Former Economist Delhi bureau chief Adam Roberts predicts a bright, challenging future for India. From Superfast Primetime Ultimate Nation.

On borrowed ground
Mika Provata-Carlone admires the fiery intensity of Bright Air Black, David Vann’s retelling of the Medea myth, but finds its savagery falls a little flat.

Seduced by utopia
Mika Provata-Carlone picks through the hardships, tragedies and ivory-tower dreams in Iris Origo’s lyrical memoir and war diary Images and Shadows and War in Vald’Orcia.

Suellen Dainty: A memory of memory
The author of The Housekeeper considers the unreliability of recolection in fiction from Proust to Julian Barnes and S.J. Watson.

Land of the bens and the glens
Extract from The Crofter and the Laird, John McPhee’s evocative account of moving his family to the land of his forebears on the remote Hebridean island of Colonsay.

Splinters and reflections
Josep Miquel Sobrere introduces his translation of Mercè Rodoreda’s tightly wrought, sparkingly inventive generational saga A Broken Mirror.

Cloak and dagger à la Russe
Mika Provata-Carlone admires Jamie Bulloch’s new translation of Ricarda Huch’s deliciously indulgent and provocative epistolary novel The Last Summer.

Saunders in the zone
Brett Marie is dazzled by master short-storyteller George Saunders’ debut novel Lincoln in the Bardo, about Abraham Lincoln mourning the loss of his young son.

A total portrait of the artist as an absence
Mika Provata-Carlone delves into Elena Ferrante’s Frantumaglia, a tantalising treasure-trove of letters, interviews, drafts and diaries.

Annemarie Neary: Scenes from a Troubles childhood
The author of Siren explains how growing up during the Northern Ireland Troubles still shapes her imaginative empathy and emotional truth.

A wonder to behold
Imbolo Mbue’s much heralded debut novel Behold the Dreamers about African immigrants in New York goes beyond high expectations, says Brett Marie.

Kate Hamer: Out there
The author of The Girl in the Red Coat and The Doll Funeral reflects on her instincts and influences, and finding the perfect setting.

Katie Hickman: Diamond discoveries
The author of the Aviary Gate trilogy reflects on the obscure Levant Company merchant who has dominated her writing life for the last decade.

Miranda Emmerson: Mixed-up thinking
The acclaimed playwright looks at the sea changes in Europe and America that inspired her debut novel Miss Treadway & the Field of Stars, about fractured and fractious 1960s Britain.

Vagrant tales
Mika Provata-Carlone is mesmerised by David Connolly’s taut translation of Zyranna Zateli’s twisting tour de force At Twilight They Return.

Wraiths of neither good nor evil
Mika Provata-Carlone assesses Hans Fallada’s Nightmare in Berlin, an unsettling chronicle of personal trauma, historical outrage, moral guilt and accountability.

Strange fascination
Paul Morley describes the irresistible impact of David Bowie on the 1970s and beyond, in an extract from The Age of Bowie, now in paperback.

In defence of book learning
Brett Marie takes inspiration and solace from Will Schwalbe’s treasure trove of stories and recommendations Books for Living.

jackie_stillThe hydra of memory and forgetting
Mika Provata-Carlone admires Steven Uhly’s Kingdom of Twilight, a vital study of horror, survival and the natural impulse for humanity.


Heart and darkness
Mark Reynolds weighs up February/March 2017’s must-see film adaptations, featuring Moonlight, Fences, Elle, The Salesman – and The Lego Batman Movie.

Faith, grief and passion
Mark Reynolds rounds up January’s best literary adaptation and biopic releases, featuring Jackie, Silence, A Monster Calls, Lion, Christine, Denial, Hacksaw Ridge and The White King.


Tumult and majesty
Lucy Scholes picks her books of the year for 2016, and peeks ahead at spring 2017. Featuring Rachel Cusk, Garth Greenwell, Sarah Moss, Maggie Nelson, Colson Whitehead (right), Nathan Hill, Jami Attenberg and more.

Timely and timeless books
Mika Provata-Carlone takes a trawl through new children’s books and freshly wrapped classics – essential reading for the festive season.


Yukio Mishima: ‘Swaddling Clothes’
Orlando Ortega-Medina was so haunted by this story from the Japanese master, he decided to write what happens next from a new viewpoint in his collection Jerusalem Ablaze.

Write Christmas
Brett Marie asks Kim Echlin, Jenn Ashworth, Megan Bradbury and Will Schwalbe about their favourite holiday reads, and shares his own.


silence_tie-in_290CONTEXTS/ON FILM
Martin Scorsese: On Silence
The director introduces Shusaku Endo’s absorbing study of faith and culture, now a major film starring Liam Neeson and Adam Driver.


An unfailing life
Mika Provata-Carlone is captivated by the Royal Ballet’s Woolf Works at the Royal Opera House, starring Alessandra Ferri and Mara Galeazzi.

Forever Neverland
Mark Reynolds finds Sally Cookson’s Peter Pan at the National Theatre a dizzying examination of the pleasures and pains of growing up.


ice_bear_4That sinking feeling
Author and Arctic wilderness guide Michael Engelhard tracks the shifting language of polar bear art. From his book Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon.


Dalliances at the dacha
An extract from the Alexander Pushkin fiction fragment that inspired Tolstoy to start writing his second masterwork Anna Karenina.


James Swallow: Watertight rules
The author of Nomad and hit videogame Deus Ex: Human Revolution offers his advice for new writers who may be struggling to get their stories down.

Brit Bennett: Getting started
The author of The Mothers takes a break from her exhaustive US tour to share some rules about choosing what to write and how to go about it.


colson_whitehead_420Burhan Sönmez: Istanbul light and dark
The author of Istanbul Istanbul discusses his novel of hope and imagination in the confines of a torture cell, his own run-ins with lawmakers and prison, and his long-term optimism for Turkey’s political future.

Colson Whitehead: Making it
The National Book Award-winning author of The Underground Railroad reflects on an extraordinary year of personal triumph and national angst.

Enchanted by the mystery of books
Ana Pérez Galván, the co-founder of Hispabooks, shares her thoughts on publishing Spanish literature in English with Mika Provata-Carlone.

Miriam Elia begs to differ
The creator of the Dung Beetle reading scheme tells Mark Reynolds about making books, art, comedy, hamsters and never quite fitting in.

Cristina Sánchez-Andrade: Flickers
Lucy Scholes talks to the author of The Winterlings about her story of exiled Galician sisters returning to their childhood home.


Amy Dupcak: India
A beautiful girl of uncertain origin seeks to stamp her identity through fiction. Short story from Amy Dupcak’s debut collection Dust.


Petina Gappah: Human rights and wrongs
Extract from ‘The Old Familiar Faces’ in her new collection Rotten Row, intelinked stories about crime and justice in contemporary Zimbabwe.


Robert Olen Butler: Still exploring
The Pulitzer Prize winner marks publication of his new novel Perfume River by cracking open the door to his writing cottage.


Reclaiming both past and future
Mika Provata-Carlone admires Leonard Barkan’s Berlin for Jews – a beguiling portrait of a city haunted, yet also honoured by its history.

Berlin by twilight
Mika Provata-Carlone savours the re-release of Franz Hessel’s 1929 classic Walking in Berlin: A Flâneur in the Capital, in a new translation by Amanda DeMarco.

Electoral collage
Brett Marie reflects on some classic books that inform the ugly 2016 race for US President, including a forgotten gem from Ralph Nader.



Astrid Lindgren: Waves of joy and doubt
Extract from A World Gone Mad, the World War Two diaries of the creator of Pippi Longstocking, as the war drags to a triumphant but messy close.


Lucie Whitehouse: Too close for comfort
The author of Keep You Close picks ten chilling novels in which home and family spell danger, pain, cruelty, terror and humiliation.


Henrietta Rose-Innes: Swarm
How to prevent – or nurture – a caterpillar infestation. Extract from Nineveh, a novel about people and pests in present-day Cape Town exploring tensions between the natural and man-made worlds.


nocturnal_animals_290EXTRACTS/ON FILM
Austin Wright: Remembering
A riveting extract from the opening chapters of Nocturnal Animals, now a gripping film by Tom Ford starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Amy Adams.


A night in the barn
Extract from Georges Simenon’s The Hand, the inspiration for The Red Barn, David Hare’s latest sell-out play at the National Theatre.