Hermione Hoby on New York Novels

The writer and journalist Hermione Hoby’s highly acclaimed first novel is set during a New York heatwave. Here she picks five books inspired by this capacious, overstated, indomitable city and discusses how it shaped her as a writer.

Enrique Vila-Matas on Books that Shaped Him

‘I like to show some restraint when it comes to making things up…’ The Spanish novelist Enrique Vila-Matas discusses the role of risk in writing, the ‘crisis of the novel’, and five books that have shaped his own work. (You can also read this interview in the original Spanish.)

Ian McEwan on the Books That Shaped His Novels

Novelist Ian McEwan talks about five of the books that have helped shape his own, from the biography of a scientific genius to a treatise on the end of time, and discusses the importance of finding “mental freedom”

Yiyun Li on the ‘Anti-memoir’

Yiyun Li, author of Dear Friend, from My Life I Write to You in Your Life, on the sheer messiness of life, the irrelevance of ‘I’, and why brutal honesty is often the truest way to capture the people we love the most

Max Porter on the Books That Shaped Him

Max Porter, author of Grief is the Thing with Feathers, on the books that have taken him from childhood to adulthood, the deepening shadow of nuclear war, and why he’ll always be on his knees in front of Emily Dickinson

Deborah Levy on Motherhood in Literature

Aristotle tells us that all politics starts in the family, and nowhere is that more obvious than in the infamously fraught relationship between mother and daughter. Here, the novelist, playwright and poet Deborah Levy chooses five books – or rather, four books and one film – that explore motherhood.

Aleksandar Hemon on Man’s Inhumanity to Man

When reading books, we often empathize with a main character and find redemption in our emotional response to their fate. But it’s more important to think, says Bosnian novelist Aleksandar Hemon. Here, he picks the best books on ‘man’s inhumanity to man.’