Essay | I’ll Always Have London by Leonard Quart

I’m off to London for the first time in a couple of years. There are friends to visit, art exhibitions and plays to see,...

Essay | Brighton Offshore by Shaun Traynor

Nine miles out from land but clearly visible, Brighton now has its own extensive windfarm. No matter where you live or work, in a strange way, it is always in front of you. Working at full capacity it can serve up enough electricity to light 350,000 homes and has become an established feature of the landscape. [...]

Essay | On the Benefits of Dancing Naked in Public

In the pub, Jemima raises both her arms above her, then swings one back, turning her head to follow the arc it makes in the air. “Something like that,” she says, sitting back down and taking a chip from the plate between us. We are attempting a reconstruction. What we are attempting to reconstruct is a theatre show called Trilogy, made by an artist called [...]

Review | Exposure by Olivia Sudjic

Exposure, Olivia Sudjic, Pensinsula Press, 2018, pp. 127, £6 Exposure, the new book by Olivia Sudjic, elegantly dissects the multi-layered web of anxieties particular to...

Essay | Mother’s Desk by Vanessa Nicolson

Vanessa Nicolson Mother's Desk I’m sitting at my mother’s desk, overlooking the gardens of the Archaeological Museum. The ochre walls of the Museum to my right...

Essay Competition 2018 — Winners Announced!

First of all, a huge, huge thank you to everybody who shared and entered this year's essay prize! Though it was only the second...

Essay | Unsteady Foundations by Jonathan Crane

Jonathan Crane Untitled My book, We Need to Talk, was published in July. When I submitted the manuscript, I’m not sure I ever fully believed the...

Essay | On Writing Ethnic Stories by Haleh Agar

I was told to use my maiden name – Hassan-Yari, a name that usually meant extra questions at the customs queue but now would...

Interview | Kevin Breathnach

I had intended my interview with Kevin Breathnach to go smoothly and at first it appeared to be doing so. We had arranged a...

Essay | Re-reading Frankenstein by Alice Dunn

It is tempting to read Frankenstein as a means of understanding Mary Shelley. 200 years after the novel was first published, Alice Dunn asks,...

Essay | A Journey Through Silence by Georgie Knaggs

The chat stops. We rise to our feet, step back over our benches. My foot hunts for its flip-flop. I am nine years old. It...

Essay | Autobiographies of Friends: A Unique Genre by Jeffrey Meyers

Jeffrey Meyers Autobiographies of Friends: A Unique Genre I’ve taken special delight in holding the copies given to me and reading the autobiographies of my two...

Essay | Vonnegut’s ‘Black Humor’

I had made her so unhappy that she had developed a sense of humor, which she certainly didn’t have when I married her . . . This line from Bluebeard’s narrator remarks on another kind of humor, the black humor Vonnegut is best known for. Its source is helplessness and despair. He explains: Laughter or crying is what a human being does when there’s nothing else he can do [...]

Essay | Psychogeography and Succotash by Will Vigar

After decades of hearing Looney Tunes’ Sylvester the Cat say ‘thuffering thuccotash’ my friend Dirk, a Native American, told me what Succotash actually is. Succotash is a Native American dish. Its name is Anglicised from the Narragansett word ‘msickquatash’ meaning cooked corn. I’m not sure how we got to the subject of succotash, but he told me that it was one of those dishes that everyone made differently, although it always had corn and beans in it. His family’s recipe had fatty [...]

Fiction | ‘Notes from Underground’ and Dostoevsky’s existentialism

Dostoevsky’s literary legacy lies not so much in the style of his novels as in the characters that inhabit them. His characters drive narrative forwards and fulfill their plot function yet are also miraculously idiosyncratic. It is this which makes them so resonant: their apparent freedom of will that so often leads to tragedy. Whether it is the Byronic heroism of Raskolnikov or the troubled Ivan Karamazov, Dostoyevsky is interested in egoism and irrationality in the human condition [...]

Essay | Kafka & Camus by Jeffrey Meyers

It is odd that the two book-length studies of Albert Camus’ The Stranger (1942), by English Showalter and Alice Kaplan, do not discuss the profound influence of Franz Kafka’s The Trial (1925). Other critics have emphasized, denied or deplored this influence. Herbert Lottman notes that while writing his novel Camus 'had read and reread Kafka, whose work seemed to him prophetic, one of the most significant of our time.' The critic Jean Paulhan - thinking of Hemingway’s simple sentences [...]

Essay | Am fit. Always thinking of you. Love. by Sam...

Before he settled on The Plague for his title, Camus considered The Separated and The Exiles. Exile comes suddenly to the inhabitants of Oran, a ‘clean-cut deprivation’ of contact with their lives beyond the city. The roads are sealed overnight. Not even letters can escape for fear of infection. Phone calls are restricted to ‘urgent cases.’ Lovers parted by quarantine must ‘hunt for tokens of their past communion within the compass of a ten-word telegram’ [...]

Essay | I Go Away To Talk To Myself by Sinead...

Sinead O'Brien I Go Away To Talk To Myself A trip has the same quality a Friday has. Everything ahead. It’s like having your back against...

Essay | John le Carré: A Biographer’s Struggle

Eager to write le Carré’s biography, unwilling to proceed without his permission and naively hoping for his help, I wrote a brief letter on September 3, 1989 and sent it to him through his agent.  I introduced myself, mentioned my five previous biographies, offered to send him copies, gave two references from prominent English authors, asked if he would authorize a life to make sure it would be done by a capable and responsible writer, and suggested a meeting [...]

Essay | W. W. Jacobs’ The Monkey’s Paw, Revisited by Vidhi...

A cold, rainy night in February was apt for revisiting W. W. Jacobs’ 1902 short story, ‘The Monkey’s Paw’, first published in the collection The Lady of the Barge. Set in imperial Britain, the story endures as a spine-chilling classic of genre fiction; one which explores the folly of dabbling with the supernatural, darkness in its many forms, and the threat of the outsider.A non-commissioned officer, on leave from India, visits an elderly couple and their son. That evening he reveals [...]

Writing Courses, London Style by Mark Isherwood

London has a disproportionate number of writers compared to the rest of the nation. Or so we are told. Why is this? Is it...

Kiss-Kiss-Kissuni by Frances Park

Memories. Some lie dormant for decades then suddenly spring awake, fresh as yesterday. I like to think the writer in me brought Kissuni back...

Essay | Foreword to Zigmunds Skujiņš’s Flesh-Coloured Dominoes

Jelgava, lying just a short distance south of the Latvian capital Riga, once the seat of the Dukes of Courland as well as being a western outpost of the Russian Tsarist empire, has historically been something of a cultural crossroads. Whereas Riga became prosperous [...]

Essay | The Art of Lost Sleep by Venetia Welby

The following essay is reproduced with permission from the anthology Trauma - An anthology of writing about art and mental health (Dodo Ink, 2021,...

Dearest reader! Our newsletter!

Sign up to our newsletter for the latest content, freebies, news and competition updates, right to your inbox. From the oldest literary periodical in the UK.

You can unsubscribe any time by clicking the link in the footer of any email you receive from us, or directly on info@thelondonmagazine.org. Find our privacy policies and terms of use at the bottom of our website.