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How to Write about Africa

Binyavanga Wainaina

‘Always end your book with Nelson Mandela saying something about rainbows or renaissances. Because you care.’

The Exorcism of Doctor Escudero

Gabi Martínez

‘His body was like a rock. It wasn’t his. It was like he was possessed.’

Self-Made Man

Mark Gevisser

Mark Gevisser examines the personal, political and social issues of transgender identity in America.

The Seventh Man

Haruki Murakami

‘I looked up at the sky. A few grey cotton chunks of cloud hung there, motionless.’

Passport Control

Kwame Dawes

‘I am Ghanaian. This is my legal label. I was born there. It is my inheritance.’

Into the Cosmos

Chloe Aridjis

‘In those fervently atheist times, it wasn’t God or his angelic messengers who would come forth from the sky, but the cosmonaut.’

Portia’s Choice

Lorna Gibb

‘There were rules to the game. I could not lose my virginity and I had to be careful not to let a boy go further than I wanted to.’

Light

Lesley Nneka Arimah

‘When Enebeli Okwara sent his girl out in the world, he did not know what the world did to daughters.’ 2015 Commonwealth Short Story Prize – regional winner for Africa.

A Walk to Kobe

Haruki Murakami

‘What I’m talking about is a different sea, and different mountains.’

Outside the Whale

Salman Rushdie

‘For a man as truthful, direct, intelligent, passionate and sane as Orwell, ‘politics’ had come to represent the antithesis of his own world-view.’

Clara

Janice Galloway

‘She shifts, half in shadow. Whatever else, she's certainly a child. No one is with her.’

Envy

Kathryn Chetkovich

‘Why does it hurt only to read good work by the living?’

The Man at the River

Dave Eggers

‘All he wants is to be a man sitting on a riverbed.’

The Husband Stitch

Carmen Maria Machado

‘Of all the stories I know about mothers, this one is the most real.’

Frankenstein’s Mother

Darcey Steinke

‘If pain is what makes others real to us, there was not another human being more real to me than my mother.’

War in Donbas

Julian Evans

Six days on the front lines of Ukraine’s ongoing battle with pro-Russian separatists

Jubilee

Carys Davies

‘His name was Arthur Pritt, he said, and he was sorry for the day.’

Human Moments in World War III

Don DeLillo

‘Happiness is not a fact of this experience, at least not to the extent that one is bold enough to speak of it.’

Jumping Monkey Hill

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

‘His accent was what the British called posh, the kind some rich Nigerians tried to mimic and ended up sounding unintentionally funny.’

If You Were a Bluebird

Juliana Spahr

‘So the dolphins talks, talks, over thirty distinguishable sounds.’

Travel Notes About Death

Susana Moreira Marques

‘The first notes I take are about a man who was born, grew up, worked, was married, had a daughter, grew old, and died in the same village.’

Pause

Mary Ruefle

‘Nothing can prepare you for this.’ Mary Ruefle on menopause.

Lessons

Justin Torres

‘We were six snatching hands, six stomping feet; we were brothers, boys, three little kings locked in a feud for more.’

About Her and the Memories That Belong to Her

Mieko Kawakami

‘If I were to forget, then it would be the same as it never having existed at all.’

Empire

Richard Ford

'Outside on the cold air, flames moved and divided and swarmed the sky. And Sims felt alone in a wide empire, removed and afloat, calmed, as if life was far away now, as if blackness was all around...'

The Buddhist

Alan Rossi

‘Loneliness is the extra, the part that’s unnecessary.’

Mungo Among the Moors

T. Coraghessan Boyle

‘At an age when most young Scotsmen were lifting skirts, ploughing furrows and spreading seed, Mungo Park was displaying his bare buttocks to al-haff Ali Ibn Fatoudi, Emir of Ludamar.’

Gift for a Sweetheart

Isabel Allende

‘Horacio Fortunato was forty-six when the languid Jewish woman who was to change his roguish ways and deflate his fanfaronade entered his life’.

Interview: Etgar Keret

Etgar Keret & Sophie Lewis

‘Usually my wife makes fun of me.’

Tommy

Donald Ray Pollock

‘I began working at the Mead Paper Company in Chillicothe, Ohio, in the summer of 1973.’

Girl on Girl

Diane Cook

‘Marni on Mack. Mack in Marni. A little Mack and Marni. My head rushes. I want to watch, hear the sounds.’

Scavengers

Adam Johnson

‘I was dying to buy something, anything that would help my wife and children understand the profound surrealism and warped reality I’d experienced on my research trip to North Korea.’

Lavande

Ann Beattie

‘It seemed impossible, but probably everyone marries thinking such a thing impossible.’

Thailand

Haruki Murakami

‘Living and dying are, in a sense, things of equal value.’