“Deep curiosity, deep listening, that’s what we have to give to each other. Reading is a form of deep listening, isn’t it? Staying with something, and being affected by it." Maggie Gee
Chloe Lane: To any lengths

Chloe Lane: To any lengths

Twenty-six-year-old Erin Moore has just been dumped by her gallery-owner boss after his wife discovered them in a compromising clinch in a store cupboard. She heads north from Auckland to spend the Queen’s Birthday holiday weekend at the old family farmstead, where her mother Helen, terminally ill with motor neurone...
Ellen Hawley: Hard-earned love

Ellen Hawley: Hard-earned love

As any art director, editor or marketer would insist, a book should always be judged by its cover. What made Other People Manage so pickupable for me, was the immediate association with books by Anne Tyler, Carol Shields, Alice Munro, Suzanne Berne… you get the picture. Physically, and thematically, this...
Caryl Lewis: Storms and wonders and cultures on the edge

Caryl Lewis: Storms and wonders and cultures on the edge

Sister and brother Nefyn and Joseph, both in their mid-twenties, have lived alone in an isolated cottage on a clifftop on the coast of West Wales for a decade since their fisherman father was lost in a sea storm. Nefyn has a close affinity to the workings of the tides,...
Lara Williams: Lost at sea

Lara Williams: Lost at sea

Lara Williams’ second novel The Odyssey is a biting satire about a generation cast adrift by the gig economy. Its narrator Ingrid joined the crew of a luxury cruise ship to flee from a failed marriage, and is buffeted between ever-changing roles within a mind-numbing micro-economy which sees her faking...
Maggie Gee: Being human

Maggie Gee: Being human

Hot on the heels of the release of a 20th anniversary edition of her Orange Prize-shortlisted The White Family, Maggie Gee’s latest novel The Red Children is a sequel of sorts. But the sometimes stark realism of the earlier book, which was motivated by her grief, anger and shame over...
Christina Patterson: Five lives

Christina Patterson: Five lives

When her brother Tom died suddenly at the age of 57, it fell to Christina Patterson, as the last surviving member of the immediate family, to clear out his house. She diligently sorted through the papers Tom had gathered, including all manner of diaries, letters and photographs left by their...
Love's old sweet song

Love’s old sweet song

Mr Leopold Bloom ate with relish the inner organs of beasts and fowls. He liked thick giblet soup, nutty gizzards, a stuffed roast heart, liver slices fried with crustcrumbs, fried hencod’s roes. Most of all he liked grilled mutton kidneys which gave to his palate a fine tang of faintly scented...
Latest entries
Raving

Raving

He kissed my cracked lips. ‘A paternal kiss… you are like a daughter to me.’ I run my tongue over my lips. Oozing, something sticky. Blood… saliva? Who knows. Someone is shining a bright light into my eyes… I’m trying to open them… I can’t. My head is weighed down… I try again… I close...
My new normal

My new normal

I’m the author of Living My Best Life, Married at First Swipe and my new novel, The One, about love, loss and learning to live again. I am also Assistant Editor at The Sun on Sunday’s Fabulous magazine, which involves editing copy, managing a team and making sure the magazine goes to press on time...
Trading places, writing stories

Trading places, writing stories

It can be argued that few gestures in the history of humanity can claim to have had such an impact on societal structures, on cultural evolution, and on civilisational encounters as trade. From the first barter exchanges (you had to be ready to meet someone else, and to acknowledge different, mutually complementary needs, in order...
The messenger

The messenger

I’m standing alone in the kitchen trying to pour chocolate batter into a cake pan without getting any on the counter. I’m also trying to think of a way into a conversation with my wife about children. It’s still a few hours before I need to pick her up from the airport, so I can...
The why, not the what

The why, not the what

Unless I’m mistaken, a riot is about to break out in the departure lounge of the Lagos Domestic Airport. ‘Someone should at least tell us what’s going on!’ an irate passenger barks into the face of an unruffled airline staff member, spraying her with spit. Good luck with that, I think from where I sit...
Upwards and sideways

Upwards and sideways

Daphne Palasi Andreades’ stunning debut novel Brown Girls (Fourth Estate, 3 February 2022) is a vibrant and poetic look at the lives of women of colour growing up in modern America. Told in vignettes, we meet a collective group of girls from different immigrant backgrounds finding their way in today’s society. On a single block...
Knowing who the real monsters are

Knowing who the real monsters are

A crucial juncture in world history was the encounter between the Helleno-Judeo-Christian tradition on the one hand, and the new tenets of Islam on the other. It manifested itself with particularly momentous poignancy on the intellectual plane through a single concept, upon which depended almost everything that mattered: the right to existence itself, cultural, national,...
Truth or dare

Truth or dare

My name is Fatima Daas. I write stories so I don’t have to live my own. I’m twelve years old when I go on a school trip to Budapest. Everyone gathers in the evening to go over the itinerary. Right after dinner, in a big room where there’s no network. Impossible to connect to MSN...
Precious weirdness

Precious weirdness

Claire Vaye Watkins’ I Love You, But I’ve Chosen Darkness, is an immersive, transgressive and darkly funny work of autofiction. Its narrator, a writer named Claire Vaye Watkins, leaves her husband and newborn baby daughter to go on a book tour, which transforms into a wild romp away from the confines of marriage and motherhood,...
Obama the chameleon

Obama the chameleon

The concept of race has no evidentiary basis in science or the serious study of the natural world, but as a social construction, it has had a powerful impact on the shaping of the modern era. Race has structured hierarchies and relationships within vast empires and between powerful nation-states and subjugated colonies for centuries. Further,...