Five Dials

A free literary magazine from Hamish Hamilton

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NW11

It’s a painstaking process, a learned performance. I spent years making small, conscious modifications to my character, to be more British when I was in London, more Brazilian in Rio.
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Remembering Roger Deakin

Item 19. A research file with cuttings on Apple Day, anti-road protests, Abergavenny carving, Wendell Berry, Bristol trees, fruit-fly flight, feltmakers, Barry Lopez, parakeets and silkworms
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Tristram Shandy

Rewriting is not only a way of appropriating a text, of adopting and endorsing it, it’s also the best, most exact, most alert, most certain way of reading it.
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Days of Shame

He started right in yelling, ‘Not my president! Not my president!’ His voice was high and clear and loud. He was fearless. Whenever he said, ‘Not my president!’ the people near them smiled coldly and said, ‘Yes, he is. He is now.’

Of Immediate Interest

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‘If a little bird enters into a café…’

Cesar Aira explains why the sinuous thread running through his novels is more interesting, and more writable, than a linear plot.
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Five Paintings

'With all of us wondering now, in our world of computer screens, "What’s real and what’s not real?" or "What has value and what doesn’t?" painting can be an ideal place to test out these questions.'
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The Recurring Nightmare of Wilhelm

'The remaining man, Wilhelm, was also uneasy, but his mind was troubled not by what lay inside the crate but by lingering thoughts of his own.'
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On Manic Depression

For Jay Griffiths, manic depression causes an incandescent sensitivity. ‘My nerves are exposed,’ she writes, ‘the world is ferociously present.’
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Number 35

Outtakes, rough sketches, first ideas, one-offs, research frames, photographs, scraps of dialogue and washes of colour from the making of Richard McGuire's groundbreaking graphic novel, Here.

Our Town

Dispatches from London

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NW11

It’s a painstaking process, a learned performance. I spent years making small, conscious modifications to my character, to be more British when I was in London, more Brazilian in Rio.
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My Father’s House

Every summer we were ordered out into the garden with machetes to chop down the grass, which grew above our heads. We loathed having to spend summer days in manual labour, but we never dared question our father’s authority.
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The Fight for Broken Britain

For a place teeming with the ghosts of empire, hard labour, hard liquor, sailors and prostitutes, it’s almost unbearably tranquil. This Britain isn’t broken: it’s just quiet to the point of being unsettling.
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What Goes Around

'Riding past a crowded pavement on a hot day, swallowing consecutive gusts of perfume, sunscreen, cigarette smoke, and sometimes even halitosis, you realize just how helplessly intimate we all are in this city.'
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Virginia Woolf in the Bomb-scarred City

'This was her grandest bid to bring something back from the ruins. She was not reading despite the bombs; she was reading with them, and the two – reading and bombs – are jumbled together in one of her last letters.'
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Yates Lane, NW8

'Escapees from St Mary’s, Paddington: expectant father smoking; old lady wheeling herself in a wheelchair, smoking; die-hard holding urine sack, blood sack, smoking.'
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