There’s a reason why some of the best horror films are those that focus more on unsettling the viewer than shocking them out of their seat. The family dinner scene in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Giger’s alien crawling around the vents of the Nostromo, the glimpses of the twins in The Shining: moments like this get under the viewer’s skin and linger long after the movie is over. A jump scare? It has an impact, but only for a moment — and it can never be recaptured.

Horror works the same way in books. Some authors like to put it…


In the 21st century, times change quickly. Like that esoteric band you’ve always liked being unexpectedly nominated for the Mercury Prize, last year was the year the climate crisis finally broke through into the mainstream. The Extinction Rebellion, global climate strikes, the UN Climate Action Summit, Greta Thunberg: for better or worse, everybody had an opinion when it came to this planet’s ecology.

This year, as virtually everyone in the world knows, is the Year of the Pandemic. And one major element of this most unwelcome of developments is that COVID-19 has pushed the climate crisis into the background (despite being intrinsically linked to it). What has been foregrounded instead is the need to ‘save’ the economy rather than the planet we live on.

So, after having taken a break from the subject for a few months, I’ve decided to go back to beating my drum about the environment. …


The life of an Afghan refugee living in Germany in 2020

Originally published in Lemon Theory (now defunct).

Hadir arrives in Berlin, utterly exhausted, in late November 2015. He, his cousin and two friends have taken a high-speed ICE train from the German/Austrian border to the capital, the final stage of a journey that started weeks before in southern Iran. Out of decency, the ticket conductor policing the carriages has allowed the four men to travel free of charge; she wishes them good luck as they stumble onto the platform. As the only English speaker among them, Hadir leads the…


You know when you’re reading a novel and the protagonist pours himself a glass of wine and the liquid is dark, heavy and inviting, but when he brings the glass to his lips his fingers tremble and the glass slips from his grasp and falls to the floor and the wine soaks into the carpet and he weeps? That’s the and…and…and sentence right there, unfurling for as long as the author has the nerve to keep adding to it.

The and…and…and sentence is a tricky beast. When used without thinking, a piece of writing can come across as amateurish, the…


Last Saturday I watched two events unfold online showing two very different sides of humanity. In one, a rocket successfully blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It marked the first time a crewed mission had left Earth using a US-built spacecraft since 2011. I found it awe-inspiring to watch and spent a long time afterwards thinking about what it represented. Belief, imagination and dedication. Unity between thousands people working in pursuit of a common goal. Courage, not least by the two astronauts sitting in an explosive tube called ‘Demo-2’ as it hurtled into space. …


Take a glance at some of the heavyweights of world literature and it quickly becomes clear that having an additional language or five rattling around in your head does no harm when it comes to putting pen to paper. Joseph Conrad grew up speaking Polish and Russian, wrote short plays in French as a child, studied German and Latin in school, picked up Spanish and Italian as a young adult, and wrote his novels in English. Vladimir Nabokov, who once described himself as having been “a perfectly normal trilingual child in a family with a large library”, was fluent in…


Putting together a good action scene in a novel is hard. Some authors can do it exceptionally well: Willi Heinrich, James Webb, Väinö Linna, Joe Haldeman, Valerio Massimo Manfredi, Naomi Alderman, Conn Iggulden. Others turn it into the literary equivalent of a machine gun mowing down wave after wave of faceless grunts. When my beta readers tore into By the Feet of Men so long ago, the main complaint they had was that the action scenes were difficult to follow. …


The storm hasn’t passed. Brexit has finally happened (kind of), there are far right rumblings across Europe, ethno-nationalism is on the rise, and there are still supremacists in the White House. Nice. What these various groups, movements and ideologies have in common is their ability to create a fear of the Other. Othering individuals, communities and cultures is fundamentally based on the assumption that that which is being othered represents a risk to ‘our’ way of life, to what we know, and to what we understand about our individual or collective sense of Self. …


The email arrives when you’ve already given up hope: “Dear XX, we have reviewed your novel and would like to offer you a contract.” No way, you think. It must be a mistake. But you read the email again. And once more for good measure. It’s not a mistake. After two hundred pitches, 50 rejections, sleepless nights and a chest full of heartache, somebody is finally offering to buy and market your novel. It’s an independent publisher, operating, if not at the margins of the industry, then somewhere in between the Big Five nucleus and the online-only agencies that publish…

Grant Price

Grant Price is the author of By the Feet of Men (Cosmic Egg, 2019) and Reality Testing (Black Rose, 2022). He lives in Berlin.

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