Five Dials

A free literary magazine from Hamish Hamilton

Number 46 | What is it good for?

Five Dials 46, the War Issue, features the Man Booker Prize-winner Pat Barker on the silence of women in warfare, Antony Beevor on the trials of researching in Russian military archives, plus a former British soldier re-examines the journal he wrote in Basra and an intrepid photographer tracks down the fields and lanes where WW1 deserters were shot. Plus: the Stasi spies on a group of poets, and a very special astronaut is unwittingly shot into space. War: what is it good for? Download issue 46

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Our Town

Dispatches from London

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.

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.

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.

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.'

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.'

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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