Reportage

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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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Dark Man at the Airport

I followed dutifully to a metal table where the men unzipped my suitcase, because they could unzip my suitcase if they wanted, they could search me if they wanted, they could detain me if they wanted.
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How The Light Gets In

If you really want to encourage people to read literature, you’re better off adding a certain mystique. Because the secret the writer is faced with, the secret of language and of reality, is shared by the reader.
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Invisible Books

I still get asked about it on the odd occasion. By the handful of people who saw me selling books at the Small Publishers’ Fair. By peers who’ve found informati... Read more
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In Chernobyl

Svetlana Alexievich’s Chernobyl Prayer first appeared in 1997, eleven years after a series of explosions rocked the Chernobyl reactor in the middle of the night, sending 50 million curies (Ci) of radioactivity into the atmosphere, of which 70 per cen... Read more
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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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Against Elections

Why do we hold elections? Why do governments in the west export elections to other parts of the world? Is this process of choosing a politician’s name from a ballot effective, or have we forgotten why this practice arose in the first place?
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All Tyranny Must End One Day

In my little Serbian hometown, streets are mostly named after poets and Second World War heroes. The street where I lived and where my parents still live was named after the Laković brothers, Arsen and Stevan, two young communists who had lived and d... Read more
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An Incomplete Guide To Obscenity

This is in the nature of an Open F.I.R. (First Information Report), a technique borrowed from the Indian Police. (It’s true what the agony uncles say, there’s s... Read more