International Writing

This page features 'A View From This Bridge', our weekly blog on international literature and the art of editing by editor Ellie Steel and various guests. We also pick a 'featured read' and have a regular Top 5 about the literature of a particular country. (To see the full blog archive click here.)

From the International Writing Blog

Never Any End to Paris. Writing jacket copy.

Jacket copy: the description of a book printed on its cover and often the text that’s used on its Amazon page and at other online retailers. It has to do many things. It should give an idea of what the book is about, without giving too much away; it should give the prospective reader an idea of whether the book might be for them; and it should do all of this in as erudite and pithy a way as possible. Read more.


Dublinesque by Enrique Vila-Matas


From Hemingway to Joyce...

Samuel Riba, a 60-year-old Catalan publisher and alcoholic, is in despair. He believes the digital era spells the end of the book and so he travels to Dublin with friends to hold, on Bloomsday, a funeral for ‘the age of print’. Once there, in the cemetery where Paddy Dignam is buried in Ulysses, he realises he is being followed by a man who looks unnervingly like a youthful Samuel Beckett.

Vila-Matas is obsessed by writers and writing: all his books are full of literary allusions and many real-life writers wander through their pages. Witty, irreverent, and wearing its keen intelligence lightly, reading Dublinesque is like being in the company of a highly entertaining, exceptionally well-read friend, whose passion for books and literature can only reinforce and enrich your own.

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Five of the Best Spanish Books

1. Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

Often voted one of the greatest novels of all time, the world’s first modern novel is as funny and tragic as ever, centuries on. Follow Spain’s beloved knight-errant and his faithful servant Sancho Panza in Edith Grossman’s superb translation.

2.     A Heart So White by Javier Marías

Marías’s delicate portrait of marriage and all its secrets and betrayals, gives unstinting insight into what makes us human.

3.     Last Evenings on Earth by Roberto Bolaño

The majestic novels The Savage Detectives and 2666 brought the late Chilean author universal acclaim and this story collection shows him to be a master of the short form too.

4.     All Is Silence by Manuel Rivas

A literary thriller of the highest order: a tale of smuggling, corruption, and childhood friendship from Galicia’s best-known contemporary writer.

5.     Lizard Tails by Juan Marse

David and his friend spend their days collecting detachable lizards’ tails in suburban Barcelona in this unforgettable evocation of adolescence in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War.