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A wide-ranging collection of reflective essays, to mark the centenary of the conflict that changed the world.
In this collection of essays, ten leading writers from different countries consider the conflicts that have informed their own literary lives. 1914-Goodbye to All That borrows its title from Robert Graves’s “bitter leave-taking of England” in which he writes not only of the First World War but the questions it raised: how to live, how to live with each other, and how to write.
Interpreting this title as broadly and ambiguously as Graves intended, these essays mark the War’s centenary by reinvigorating these questions. The book includes Elif Shafak on an inheritance of silence in Turkey, Ali Smith on lost voices in Scotland, Xiaolu Guo on the 100,000 Chinese sent to the Front, Daniel Kehlmann on hypnotism in Berlin, Colm Toibin on Lady Gregory losing her son fighting for Britain as she fought for an independent Ireland, Kamila Shamsie on reimagining Karachi, Erwin Mortier on occupied Belgium’s legacy of shame, NoViolet Bulawayo on Zimbabwe and clarity, Ales Steger on resisting history in Slovenia, and Jeanette Winterson on what art is for.
Ali Smith – Scotland
Ales Steger – Slovenia
Jeanette Winterson – England
Elif Shafak – Turkey
NoViolet Bulawayo – Zimbabwe
Colm Toibin – Ireland
Xiaolu Guo – China
Erwin Mortier – Belgium
Kamila Shamsie – Pakistan
Daniel Kehlmann – Germany
‘Tender, compassionate humanity’ Peter Conrad, Observer
‘A global gathering of essayists here reimagine the war from a variety of vantage points’ Guardian
‘This superb collection of essays by some of today’s leading writers stands out among the many books commissioned to mark the centenary of the First World War.’ The Lady
Lavinia Greenlaw’s poetry includes The Casual Perfect and A Double Sorrow: Troilus and Criseyde. Other works include The Importance of Music to Girls and Questions of Travel: William Morris in Iceland. She was the first artist-in-residence at the Science Museum, and received the Ted Hughes Award for her sound work Audio Obscura. Her work for BBC radio includes documentaries about Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson, the darkest place in England and Arctic light.