The Cost of Living

In the second instalment of her “living autobiography”, acclaimed novelist, playwright and poet Deborah Levy continues to defy convention in style as well as in the revealing of herself as a writer and a woman. That she is one of the finest writers of our times is on evident display not only in the brilliance of the prose but in how her memoir goes much beyond the big moments of life, such as the end of a marriage or death of a parent, to instead offer a thrilling peek, couched in subtle irony yet deep conviction, into what it means simply to live an existence of meaning.

Manto Saheb: Friends and Enemies of the Great Maverick

This collection of writings acts as a biography of one of the most famous writers from the Indian subcontinent, Saadat Hasan Manto with essays by contemporaries – friends and rivals alike – such as Ismat Chughtai, Upendranath Ashk and Balwant Gargi, and his family. Full of personal reflections and rarely-known anecdotes, this rich and varied collection, translated by Vibha Chauhan and Khalid Alvi, goes one step further in helping understand a complex man and an unparalleled writer.

How To Write an Autobiographical Novel

Best known as a novelist, Korean American writer Alexander Chee’s debut collection of essays showcases another dazzling, intimate and deeply moving side to the author. Ranging from essays that explicitly tackle the craft of creating a novel to personal and wry writings on life as a gay man of Asian origin, the AIDS crisis, the odd jobs he did to sustain himself, and everything in between, this book thrums with the voice of a masterful writer who is unafraid to excavate and pierce the depths of what constitutes the self.

Feel Free

The relentlessly versatile Zadie Smith brings her trademark wit, warmth and razor-sharp arguments to her second collection of essays, writing with insight about everything from politics and social media to the environment and popular culture. She simultaneously achieves the near-impossible, making a case for the self and the aesthetic while remaining rooted in an exploration of power and identity that rejects the neat compartmentalisation so often favoured by the modern world.