Ben East

In Extremis by Tim Parks

The National, April 2017 “I had come to a complete dead end, a position of utter impasse and ugliness.” Thomas, the neurotic 50-something protagonist in the 18th novel…

Compass by Mathias Énard

The National, March 2017 Mathias Énard’s first novel to be translated into English was a 500-page monologue by a spy on a train, published as a single sentence….

Ayobami Adebayo on debut Stay With Me

The National, March 2017 Ayobami Adebayo was fidgeting in the Lagos bank she worked in, restless, desperately bored and unfulfilled. “It was mind-numbing work,” she says. “I was…

Peter Capaldi interview

The National, February 2017 In hindsight, the imminent end of Peter Capaldi’s “cosmic” ride as the 12th Doctor Who was as inevitable as a Dalek maniacally croaking “exterminate”….

The Transition by Luke Kennard

The National, January 2017 Unemployed, unsure, in debt, fearful, even overwhelmed – whether they are described as Generation Y or millennials, the life of Westerners who came of…

The Soul Of An Octopus by Sy Montgomery

Shooting Jules Verne’s 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea in 1916 – the first motion picture filmed underwater, no less – J Ernest Williamson trembled: “No words can adequately describe the sickening…

Is the ‘Arabic Booker’ working?

When the International Prize for Arabic Fiction was launched in Abu Dhabi in 2007, its chairman, Jonathan Taylor, said he looked forward to seeing “more high-quality Arabic fiction…

Raja Alem interview

The National, June 2016 When Raja Alem won the International Prize for Arabic Fiction in 2011 with The Dove’s Necklace, she might have expected that her fascinating exploration into…

Shilpi Somaya Gowda interview

The National, June 2016 It is not entirely an exaggeration to suggest that Shilpi Somaya Gowda is living the dream. Like so many would-be authors, the Toronto-born child…