Cal Flyn ©Nancy Macdonald

Cal Flyn

Cal Flyn is a writer, journalist and the deputy editor of Five Books. She writes for The Guardian and Granta, among others. Islands of Abandonment: Life in the Post-Human Landscape, her nonfiction book about how nature rebounds in abandoned places, was shortlisted for numerous awards including the Baillie Gifford Prize, the Ondaatje Prize and the Wainwright Prize for writing on global conservation. She was named the Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year in 2022.

Cal writes regular round-ups of the best new fiction, which can be browsed here. Follow her on Twitter: @calflyn.

Books by Cal Flyn

Interviews with Cal Flyn

Notable New Novels of Fall 2022, recommended by Cal Flyn

Fall is a busy time in publishing, as the biggest names in fiction prepare to release new books in the months leading up to Christmas. Here, Five Books deputy editor Cal Flyn rounds up some of the most notable novels of Fall 2022—including two new books from the great American novelist Cormac McCarthy and a sumptuous work of historical fiction from Maggie O’Farrell.

The Notable Novels of Summer 2022, recommended by Cal Flyn

If you’re looking for a new book to keep you entertained or intellectually excited over the summer break, we’ve got you covered. Five Books’ deputy editor Cal Flyn offers a round-up of the notable new novels of summer 2022, from snappy debuts and fantasy epics to the latest book from the most recent recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Notable Novels of Spring 2022, recommended by Cal Flyn

If you’re nervous of what 2022 has in store for us, you’re not alone. But at least there will be plenty of excellent new books to read. Here, Five Books deputy editor Cal Flyn offers a round-up of the notable novels of spring 2022, including exciting new work from Sheila Heti, Ali Smith and Marlon James.

The Best Novels of 2021, recommended by Cal Flyn

It’s been another vintage year for fiction. As book sales continue to soar, Five Books deputy editor Cal Flyn talks us through her personal highlights: the best new novels to be released in 2021. Her recommendations include a workplace comedy that unfolds through the medium of Slack, a “darkly sardonic” story of a 17th-century witch trial, and a witty novel-of-ideas examining trans parenthood.

Notable Novels of Fall 2021, recommended by Cal Flyn

Five Books deputy editor Cal Flyn offers a round-up of the notable novels that need to be on your literary radar in Fall 2021, including the hotly anticipated new book from Sally Rooney—set to dominate bestseller lists in the coming weeks—as well as eagerly awaited follow-ups from Richard Osman and Elizabeth Strout, and a return to more traditional fiction from Karl Ove Knausgård.

Notable New Novels of Summer 2021, recommended by Cal Flyn

Foreign holidays are still looking unlikely for most of us this summer, but that doesn’t mean we won’t be able to find a spot in a park or garden to relax in the sun with a good book. Here, author and Five Books deputy editor Cal Flyn highlights some of the most notable new novels of summer 2021 to help you narrow down your reading options.

The best books on Abandoned Places, recommended by Cal Flyn

Five Books deputy editor Cal Flyn selects five of the best books on abandoned places, including a cultural history of ruins, an account of natural recovery in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, plus two unsettling works of science fiction. Her own book, Islands of Abandonment: Life in the Post-Human Landscape, is out now.

Notable Novels of Spring 2021, recommended by Cal Flyn

Fiction fans can expect “an embarrassment of riches” in spring 2021, according to Cal Flyn, deputy editor of Five Books and author of the forthcoming Islands of Abandonment. From buzzed-about debuts to the latest novel from the Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro, we are spoilt for choice this season.

Favourite Novels of 2020, recommended by Cal Flyn

Five Books deputy editor Cal Flyn selects her favourite novels from among those published in 2020: the year of the lockdown, a time when many of us found escapism and solace between the covers of a book. Her own book, Islands of Abandonment: Life in the Post-Human Landscape, a work of literary nonfiction, is out in January.

Very Short Books You Can Read In A Day, recommended by Cal Flyn

Talked a lot of big talk about writing that novel in lockdown, or repainting the house? Us too. When it came down to it, many of us have felt too frantic to take on big projects – and that goes for our reading lives too. Here, Five Books deputy editor Cal Flyn recommends some very short books that might be read over the course of a day or, being small and easily surmountable, might just break a reading drought.

Editors’ Picks: Notable Novels of Fall 2020, recommended by Cal Flyn

After coronavirus-induced chaos threw publishing schedules out of whack earlier this year, fall 2020 is shaping up to be a bumper book season. But with hundreds of new titles flooding onto the shelves, it can be hard to identify those that are most deserving of your time. Here, Five Books deputy editor Cal Flyn highlights some of the most anticipated new novels of the coming weeks.

Editors’ Picks: Notable Novels of Summer 2020, recommended by Cal Flyn

No writer could resent you losing track of the new novels being published into the chaos of summer 2020 – with the world on lockdown and protestors taking to the streets. But fiction can offer respite from a relentless news cycle, writes Five Books deputy editor Cal Flyn – and an opportunity to consider our own lives and choices through the prism of others’.

Editors’ Picks: Notable Books of 2019, recommended by Cal Flyn

Five Books deputy editor Cal Flyn reflects on a year of spectacularly rich literary output, highlighting notable new books from Mary Gaitskill and Robert Macfarlane, as well as sparkling debuts that mark the arrival of exciting new literary voices in 2019.

Interviews where books by Cal Flyn were recommended

The 2021 British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding, recommended by Patrick Wright

Through careful research and compelling argument, the books shortlisted for the British Academy Book Prize for Global Cultural Understanding cast light on globally significant problems, says Patrick Wright, chair of the 2021 jury and Emeritus Professor of Literature, History and Politics at King’s College London. Here he talks us through the books that made the 2021 shortlist, works of nonfiction that “speak directly to the urgent challenges of the times in which we live”.

The Best Conservation Books of 2021, recommended by Charlotte Smith

Many of us are increasingly alarmed at the damage human beings have done—and continue to do—to the natural world and would love to be better informed about what we need to do to protect our precious environment. Fortunately, every year, the Wainwright Prize picks out the best writing on global conservation—books that are not only informative but highly readable. Here, British journalist Charlotte Smith, chair of the judging panel, talks us through the books that made the 2021 shortlist and why it’s worth reading all of them.

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