Essay | Layli and Majnun: Romeo and Juliet of the East...

When it comes to love stories, none are as well known in the English language as Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. In Iran and elsewhere in the Persian-speaking world, however, another pair of star-crossed lovers reigns supreme. Lord Byron, who enthused over ancient Iran in Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage, called Nezami Ganjavi’s Layli and Majnun ‘the Romeo and Juliet of the East’. Though given to exaggeration, this was no exaggeration on Byron’s part [...]

Essay | Travel Writers as Citizens of Nowhere by Cecily Blench

At the Conservative Party Conference in 2016, shortly after the Brexit vote, the new Prime Minister Theresa May gave a speech in which she said these words: ‘If you are a citizen of the world, you are a citizen of nowhere’. She made this point while trying to address the concerns of those who voted for Brexit because of immigration [...]

My London | Tyne O’Connell

O’Connell lives and works in Mayfair, which serves as a backdrop for much of her contemporary women’s fiction, including ‘Making The A-List’. This is...

Essay | An argument for theatres by Amber Massie-Blomfield

The last show I saw before lockdown was Love Love Love at the Lyric Hammersmith. 500 of us were in that room; all gathered together to do what, in my pre-quarantine life, I used to do two or three times a week. I didn’t hug my friend when I met him at the start of the evening. It was the beginning of March and what constituted acceptable public behaviour seemed to shift on an hourly basis. We touched elbows. ‘This is probably the last theatre show we’ll ever see,’ my friend said, and we laughed, incredulous. No one dared to clear their throat in the darkness. Three days later, the theatres closed. It’s strange to think of it now, being in a room packed [...]

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...

The Sun Shines on Opera by Tom Sutcliffe

I will always remember my first visit to Glyndebourne. It was a Sunday and I was the countertenor in Westminster Cathedral choir, so I...

2018 Essay Competition | Judges’ Interview Nicola Griffith and Pico...

We had a quick conversation with the judges of our 2018 Essay Writing Competition — Nicola Griffith and Pico Iyer — about their writing,...

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 | 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 [...]

Review | Fur Coats in Tahiti by Jeremy Over

“The best way to live in the present is less carefully”: for better or worse, Jeremy Over’s winningly preposterous fourth collection, Fur Coats in Tahiti, follows its own advice to the letter. On the whole, I think, the better wins out, but let’s start by getting some of the worse [...]

Donald Trump – America’s First Oligarch-in-Chief

By Mohammad Zahoor On 20th January this year Donald Trump was sworn in as President of the United States. In the eyes of millions both...

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 | Becket back in the cathedral

Great drama has a way of always being relevant whenever it is performed, even if, like T. S. Eliot’s Murder in the Cathedral, it isn’t performed very often. The play is, of course, about the assassination of Thomas Becket, but with undertones of the shadow of Fascism over Europe. Next year sees the 850th anniversary of the event [...]

Five years on – why Natasha Walter’s ‘Living Dolls: The Return...

So there’s a glamour model contest. All women can enter. To decide on a winner, the women must strip, pose sexually and suggestively on...

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...

Feature | Inside Dennis Severs’ House

I arrive outside the black wooden door of Dennis Severs' House, knock gently on the door, and wait under the gas lantern which hangs...

Essay | Low Fidelity: The Case for Shakespeare’s Reinvention by Katrina...

Katrina Bennett Low Fidelity: The Case for Shakespeare's Reinvention Perhaps more so than any other Elizabethan writer, William Shakespeare was well aware of the necessity to...

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...

Archive | Apollinaire 1880-1918 by Simon Watson Taylor

The following essay was first published in The London Magazine, November 1968, Volume 8, No. 8, with accompanying illustrations, and edited by Alan Ross...

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...

Archive | Why I Write — Joan Didion

First published in the June/July 1977 of The London Magazine (Vol. 17, No. 2)  Of course I stole the title from George Orwell. One reason...

Battle of Ideas by Francesca Baker

At this year's Battle of Ideas the opening debate concerning literature was entitled To Read or Not To Read - The Canon and the...

Essay | The Wild Side of Town by Alexis Self

There are millions of miles of Montessori walls filled with quotations about the virtues of sharing. But you don’t want to get to your...

The Easter Rising by Frank Armstrong

The one hundredth anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising will hardly register in most London Magazine readers’ minds, but for Irish people the anniversary...

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