Cal Flyn, Deputy Editor

Five Books deputy editor Cal Flyn is a writer from the Highlands of Scotland.

Her latest book, Islands of Abandonment—about the ecology and psychology of abandoned places—is out now. It has been shortlisted for the 2021 Baillie Gifford Prize, the Wainwright Prize for writing on global conservation, the British Academy Book Prize, and for the title of Scottish Nonfiction Book of the Year.

At Five Books, she interviews on subjects including literary fiction and nonfiction, psychology, nature, environment, and science fiction.

Interviews by Cal Flyn

The Best Novels in Translation: The 2024 International Booker Prize Shortlist, recommended by Eleanor Wachtel

Every year, the judges for the International Booker Prize read dozens of novels newly translated into English before compiling their shortlist of the very best. We spoke to the Canadian broadcaster Eleanor Wachtel—who chaired this year’s jury—about the six books they’ve selected in 2024: from a slim, elliptical Swedish novel about contemporary relationships to a multi-generational epic set in 20th-century Korea.

The best books on State-Sponsored Assassination, recommended by Luca Trenta

Political assassinations are usually portrayed in the media as the actions of rogue states acting recklessly, outside the bounds of international law. But it is far more common than you might think, says Luca Trenta—international relations expert and the author of The President’s Kill List. Here, he recommends five books on state-sponsored assassinations and explains how different countries have justified, denied or redefined the practice.

Five of the Best Literary Historical Novels, recommended by Paul Carlucci

Writers approach historical fiction from many different angles, explains the novelist Paul Carlucci—whose new, evocative novel is set in colonial-era Canada. Here, he recommends five of his favourite literary historical novels that manipulate form, character and setting in interesting ways while simultaneously summoning the atmosphere of the past.