A portrait of the writer as a young underachiever

As the only son of dysfunctional, demanding Russian-Jewish parents, Gary Shteyngart has always written for love. This time, he steps out of the cover of his semi-autobiographical novels and comes clean. Read more

Short fiction: Oil Crisis

This month, we have a high-concept short story by Terence Tang. The premise: it's 2046 and there's a new species on Planet Earth. Find out what happens. Read more

The relentless search for beauty

Donna Tartt tends toward overwriting and philosophical proselytising in The Goldfinch, her third epic in three decades, but she’s earned the right to make up her own rules. Read more

The sexiest women in literature

And no, Anastasia Steele is definitely not one of them. Read more

The best true stories on the web

They've made a comeback in recent years—and nowhere more so than online. Here's where you can find them—from serious politics and family histories to sporting triumphs and tragedies, and even video games. Read more

The Protégé and the Grandmaster

Nick Hurst left his job in London to learn kung fu in Kuala Lumpur and then wrote about it all in a book. We chat with him about his experience. Read more

Beautiful books

Purist book snobs will tell you that it's what inside a book that counts, not how it looks. Well, you can believe that but still want to own these great-looking pieces of literature. Read more

The House of Trembling Leaves by Julian Lees

Sometimes, you need to smell your own roses instead of shipping them in from Holland. Julian Lees, born in Hong Kong, decided ten years life as a stockbroker was enough and began penning novels. Thus, his latest. Read more