Reportage

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.

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

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

On Manic Depression

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

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?

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

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

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.

Transient Beauty

In Montreal, it is the women I always notice first. They are lithe, bold and astonishingly lovely. On the bicycle path, girls in tiny skirts float by, long hair curling, thighs spread, toenails polished. Necklines plummet and legs, shapely, tanned, l... Read more