That’s the nature of grief: It’s a creature with many arms but few legs, and it staggers about, searching for support

The High Mountains of Portugal

Yann Martel

We’d go tae the baths every Saturday morning, Agnes and me. Ah’d watch fae the windae, alang the grey, gluthery street, till ah caught the first glimpse of her red raincoat and blue pixie hat turnin the corner…

Hieroglyphics And Other Stories

Anne Donovan

She loved herself, and her body’s resistance to all those poisons was the exact measure of how indestructibly young and beautiful she felt she was

The Heart Broke In

James Meek

The play was underway, swords were out, tension bristled the air

Hamlet: Globe to Globe

Dominic Dromgoole

Words weren’t dull, words were things that could make your mind hum. If you read them and let yourself feel the magic, you could live without pain, with hope, no matter what happened to you

Ham On Rye

Charles Bukowski

‘You know that I know that you know that I have done nothing,’ I said. ‘You’re holding me because your country is strong enough to be unjust.’

Guantánamo Diary

Mohamedou Ould Slahi

I am grinning at her now. I am excited about seeing justice done and also about getting to hold a dead body. A real dead human

Grow Up

Ben Brooks

I think of him all the time, and he thinks of me not at all. I love him, and my love torments me. There are times when I feel like a ghost beside him; as if he alone is real, and I’m just a daydream

The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ

Philip Pullman

She had witnessed the birth of so many of these beings, held their hands as they left their sea-scapes and came ashore, but she had never allowed herself the thought that it might someday be hers

The Good Muslim

Tahmima Anam

It could have been a smile, or it could have been a grimace. And the tickle in her throat could have been a chuckle or it could have been tears. It was mixed up: sad; funny; unfunny

A Golden Age

Tahmima Anam

I am not defined by my scars but by the incredible ability to heal

Gold from the Stone

Lemn Sissay

Every spring I look forward to the rooks’ return to the rookery, to the soap opera of their contact bickering, sabotaging and thieving from their neighbours’ nests

Gods of the Morning

John Lister-Kaye

She was the first child. The girl who saved Christmas. And Father Christmas would never forget it…

The Girl Who Saved Christmas

Matt Haig

And it was always the stories that needed the telling that gave us the rope we could cross any river with. They balanced us high above any crevasse. They made us be natural acrobats. They made us be brave

Girl Meets Boy

Ali Smith

This is probably as good a time as any for me to make a full confession…


Terry Gilliam

The passage into mystery always refreshes. If, when we work, we can look once a day upon the face of mystery, then our labor satisfies. We are lightened when our gifts rise from pools we cannot fathom

The Gift

Lewis Hyde

What you have learned here today, Charlie Brown, will be of immeasurable value to you for many years to come

The Genius of Charlie Brown

Charles M. Schulz

You are mine, I am yours; you may be sure of this. You've been locked inside my heart, the key has been thrown away; within it, you must always stay

The Gargoyle

Andrew Davidson

On a mountain above the clouds once lived a man who had been the gardener of the Emperor of Japan. Not many people would have known him before the war, but I did

The Garden of Evening Mists

Tan Twan Eng

My country was turning into a realm of the absurd. Capitalism, so longed for, never came. The mentality of the crook reigned, the mentality of people out for easy money who wanted to look smarter than God himself

Free Fall

Nicolai Lilin

And supposing he were dead? you might ask. But if he were dead I would write a different essay

A Fortunate Man

John Berger

You remember what I says. You’re the fortunate one. You still gets to be with us for a bit longer. The other one—well, he’s watching on, somewhere

The Fortunate Brother

Donna Morrissey

I’ve been loved and I’ve been bored and I’ve been blue / But I always come back around to you

Forever Words

Johnny Cash

Within an hour I am not just playing poker, I’m debating poker, arguing about poker, laughing about poker, inhaling poker. I even win some money

For Richer, For Poorer

Victoria Coren