Eshkol Nevo: Harassment
A former Israeli Intelligence Corps officer seeking a new civilian role is confronted by an incident from his past. From The Last Interview.

Before the beginning of years
Mika Provata-Carlone relishes the process of reading and thinking along with Nancy Worman’s lively and erudite Virginia Woolf’s Greek Tragedy.

Interesting times
Three poems about 21st-century living by Selina Nwulu, Imtiaz Dharker and Jasmine Ann Cooray, from Neil Astley’s anthology Staying Human.

Clare Whitfield: Complicated and conflicted
The author of People of Abandoned Character picks her top ten flawed protagonists, from Sarah Waters’ Sue Trinder to Shirley Jackson’s Merricat.

Shahnaz Ahsan: Lasting impressions
The author of Hashim & Family picks eight novels and story collections that have shaped her approach to reading and creating.

The duty of disobedience
Enduring calls to action from three new titles in the Penguin Great Ideas series from Emmeline Pankhurst, Hannah Arendt and Audre Lorde.

Antoine Laurain: Author’s lunch
The literary lunch may be a cherished social ritual, but is also a moment to demand payback on a promised manuscript. From The Readers’ Room.

Patrick Freyne: To do or not to do
The author of OK, Let’s Do Your Stupid Idea reflects on some significant life, career, reading and writing choices and influences.

Lotte Möller: Bees can teach us a great deal – but what?
How the Aristotelian notion that bees were ruled by a king was challenged towards the end of the Renaissance. From Bees and Their Keepers.

Maryem Alaoui: A proposition
Casablanca prostitute Jmiaa is surprised by an aspiring director seeking her help on a film project. From Straight from the Horse’s Mouth.

Spreading their wings
Ana Sampson introduces poems from the anthology She Will Soar by Sophia Thakur, Moya Cannon, Selena Godden, Anne Brontê and Helen Cadbury.

Ukamaka Olisakwe: Breaking free
The author of Ogadinma draws on the real-life experiences of Nigerian women in this shout-out for independence and self-determination.

You and the story
Tyler Keevil picks his top ten novels and stories written in the second person, from Calvino to Coupland via a pair by Mohsin Hamid.

Amin Maalouf: Big brothers
How Orwell’s totalitarian nightmare has mutated into a rise in identity-related tensions and a dulling of critical faculties. From Adrift.

Tyler Keevil: An ending
A random encounter on a London bus after an uninspiring trip to the cinema has tragic consequences. From Your Still Beating Heart.

Predrag Matvejević: Bread and circuses
A snapshot of our most staple foodstuff and its lack through European history, literature and art. From Our Daily Bread.

Natasha Randall: The housewife and the convict
Jenny takes some me-time during husband Hank’s online yoga class, and ponders the ‘marshmallow numbness’ of her existence. From Love Orange.

From Tiger Girl
Three poems from Pascale Petit’s new collection, linked by themes of endangered species and human impact on the natural world.

The solace of the strange
Nydia Hetherington, author of A Girl Made of Air, presents her Top Ten tales of the uncanny, the dark, and the fabulous.

Survivor rage
Mark Reynolds relishes Ralph Fiennes’ consummate performance in David Hare’s ‘Covid Monologue’ Beat the Devil at the Bridge Theatre.

The Fiume Endeavour
Gideon Defoe examines the fleeting existence of the Impresa di Fiume, under the leadership of self-aggrandising poet Gabriele D’Annunzio. From An Atlas of Extinct Countries.

Shaista Sadick: Boneland
A British housewife finds a sideline writing Islamic terror erotica for a shady US website. From the anthology A Match Made in Heaven.

Misfiring love
Laura Southgate, whose debut novel The Boyfriend depicts an awkward intergenerational love affair, selects her favourite bad romances.

Crossroads to the past
Alberto Manguel introduces Ronald Wright’s classic travel journal Cut Stones and Crossroads: A Journey in the Two Worlds of Peru.

Worlds beyond
Electrifying excerpts from the new Penguin Classics Science Fiction series from James Tiptree Jr., Angélica Gorodischer and Andreas Echsbach.

Pilar Quintana: Nicolasito
Eight-year-old friends Damaris and Nicolasito explore a rocky headland at the water’s edge on Colombia’s Pacific coast. From The Bitch.

Truth in sculpture
Mika Provata-Carlone enjoys Loyd Grossman’s An Elephant in Rome, a glorious account of how Bernini and Alexander VII created the Eternal City.