“I wish I had a more reliable way of figuring out how to write. It’s all just intuition and waking dreams.” – Robbie Arnott
Posts tagged "identity"
Unheld conversations

Unheld conversations

Just before my second novel, Belladonna, was published in 2020, I gave each of my parents an advance proof copy. They had both read my first book at a much earlier stage in the publishing process, when I was still working on edits. This time, the novel was just weeks away from being made available...
from Border Zone

from Border Zone

John Agard has been broadening the limits of British poetry for the past 40 years. His ninth Bloodaxe collection, Border Zone, explores a far-reaching canvas of British/Caribbean transatlantic connections, sweeping across centuries and continents. It’s a diverse collection in which the thought-provokingly mischievous, bawdy, elegiac and satirical rub shoulders with the sequence The Plants Are Staying Put –...
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 the murder of Stephen Lawrence,...
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,...
Grandmother and get me out of here

Grandmother and get me out of here

She wakes up. Where is she? The sheets feel damp. Wallpaper. Probably a bedroom. Her feet feel hot. Slippers on. She pushes them off. Carpet. Ugly, ugly carpet, she has the same one at home but it’s much nicer. Bookshelf. Brown and white, gilded spines. Books. Tito’s biography. Then Meša Selimović, Abdulah Sidran, Saša Stanišić,...
Madness, lies

Madness, lies

Graeme Macrae Burnet’s fourth novel Case Study is an inventive, archly funny meditation on mental health and the nature of self, in which a young woman presents herself under an assumed identity as a patient to a charismatic, self-taught psychotherapist called Collins Braithwaite, who she believes may have encouraged her sister’s suicide. Set chiefly in...
Elif Shafak: Time to reconnect

Elif Shafak: Time to reconnect

Elif Shafak’s richly evocative, elegantly crafted novel The Island of Missing Trees transports readers between 1970s Cyprus and 21st–century London in a cross-generational saga of passion, trauma, memory and renewal. Greek Cypriot Kostas and Turkish Cypriot Defne fall in love as teenagers in the divided city of Nicosia in 1974, meeting undercover in the back...
Tessa McWatt: A place in the world

Tessa McWatt: A place in the world

Tessa McWatt’s The Snow Line throws together four strangers at a wedding in the Indian Himalayan foothills. Twenty-five-year-old Reema is a classical singer born in India but raised as a Londoner, who has travelled without her Scottish boyfriend. Having recently discovered she is pregnant, she is facing a life-shifting decision about her future. Yosh is...
Samira Sedira: The makings of a murder

Samira Sedira: The makings of a murder

French-Algerian author and actress Samira Sedira’s People Like Them, her first novel to be translated into English, is a fictional retelling of a real-life multiple murder in a mountain village in Haute-Savoie, in which a recently arrived wealthy black property developer, his white wife and their three young children were brutally killed by a neighbour....