In a refugee camp, stories are everything. Everyone has one, having just slipped out from the grip of a nightmare.

The Ungrateful Refugee

Dina Nayeri

He was many men and no man at all. He was a hysterical little bundle of possibilities that could never come true.

The Man With the Golden Arm

Nelson Algren

It all had an irksome feeling of déjà vu. This had happened to me in a fashion before - but at least this time I had a working phone and we were below the snow-line.

Outpost

Dan Richards

He sums things up, laying the hand over the cold, inert torso lying in the grass: this one's dead and I'm alive, so I'd better get out of here

Canongate

Every morning when I wake up, I'm always surprised, sometimes crestfallen, to have been spat out again, tender and bruised and somehow a little less.

Canongate

Remember this: if, in the act of creation, you find yourself, just for a moment, losing all sense of time and being lifted up into a great, all-embracing 'Yes!' . . . you have found the place where creation takes wing

Dancing with the Gods

Kent Nerburn

Do we have to be religious to be moral? Do we have to believe in God to be good? These questions may sound impertinent to people without a religion or clear belief in God who are trying to lead a good life.

Godless Morality

Richard Holloway

Was it the bourbon or the dye fumes that made the pink walls quiver like vaginal lips?

Suicide Blonde

Darcey Steinke

A dark extravagant shape slowly detached itself from the grey overall of sea and sky . . .

Island on the Edge of the World

Charles MacLean

‘You said the War ended decades ago.’ The angel darkens to a silhouette. Ice crystals form in the vapour rising from his shoulders, hardening into wings. ‘Oh Hagar.’ His voice shrinks to a whisper. ‘War doesn’t end. It sleeps.'

The Ice House

Tim Clare

I do not know how she has survived until now. I do not know how I have survived either, come to think of it. I have just kept going. I have paid the right price. I have continued to live. Now, we will survive together. I will be her Mother, and she will be my Monster.

My Name Is Monster

Katie Hale

The sea, as the Baron saw from the geographer's charts, was far away. But above all – he saw in his dreams – it was terrible, exaggeratedly beautiful, terribly powerful, inhuman and inmical: marvellous.

Ocean Sea

The ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor the self, the ultimate touchstone is witness, th privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another.

Consolations

David Whyte

I, Dr Whytlaw III, the first and last word on white people, the alpha and omega of the White Man, will usher you safely through the woods. Have no fear. Walk with me.

Think Like a White Man

Dr Boulé Whytelaw III & Nels Abbey

When Aada started her new school, the pixie came too. But this school was a place, where it was hard to be true.

The Truth Pixie Goes to School

Matt Haig

He can feel the river's presence on his right. It never leaves him; it is there, always, on the edge of his consciousness. Even in sleep, it flows through his dreams, watching, waiting, coaxing his attention to something he cannot fathom.

The River Capture

Mary Costello

I'm going to get to places that you've never been. All kinds of places. I'm going to see things you couldn't even dream of.

Godsend

John Wray

Pity the small backs of children, he heard her saying. They carry death for us the second they are born.

The Small Backs of Children

Lidia Yuknavitch

We are all swimmers before the dawn of oxygen and earth.We all carry the memory of that breathable blue past.

The Chronology of Water

Lidia Yuknavitch