The Seagull Blog

‘The Idea of Communism’ by Tariq Ali: An Excerpt

The fall of the Berlin Wall was the monumental event that signalled the beginning of the end of Communism in the former Soviet Union. Yet, why was this collapse of Communism considered final, but the many failures of capitalism are considered temporary and episodic? In The Idea of Communism, Tariq A
Read More

‘Manon’s World’ by James Reidel: An Excerpt

Manon Gropius (1916–1935) was the daughter of Alma Mahler, the widow of Gustav Mahler, and the architect Walter Gropius, the founder of the Bauhaus, and the stepdaughter of the writer Franz Werfel. In Manon’s World, James Reidel explores the life and death of a child at the centre of a broken love t
Read More

'My Concept of Art' by Somnath Hore: An Excerpt

One of India’s foremost artists of the twentieth-century, Somnath Hore had a long and storied career that overlapped the boundaries between art and activism. My Concept of Art is a quasi-autobiographical essay that leads the reader through different phases of Hore’s life: from his early adventures i
Read More

‘Voices of Dissent’ by Romila Thapar: An Excerpt

In Voices of Dissent, Romila Thapar looks at the articulation of dissent, focusing on nonviolent forms, that which is so essential to all societies, and relates it to various moments of time and in varying contexts as part of the Indian historical experience. Beginning with Vedic times, she takes us
Read More

‘Cox’ by Christoph Ransmayr: An Excerpt

The world’s most powerful man, Qiánlóng, emperor of China, invites the famous eighteenth-century clockmaker Alister Cox to his court in Beijing. There, in the heart of the Forbidden City, the Englishman and his assistants are to build machines that mark the passing of time as a child or a condemned
Read More

‘The Little Horse’ by Thorvald Steen: An Excerpt

Snorri Sturluson was an Icelandic politician, writer and historian living during the twelfth century. He was a man of great political influence, and his writings are still researched and valued today. Snorri was killed on September 22, 1241, in Reykholt, where he lived the last years of his life, an
Read More

‘P. K. Ghosh: An Old-World Indian Printer’ by Rukun Advani

Buyers of books seldom cast more than a glance at the fourth page of a book. In nearly every book this fourth page carries the name of the press which has printed the book. Publishers are required to name their printer because if the book is pirated or obscene, the printer is legally liable. This le
Read More

‘My Father, the Germans and I’ by Jurek Becker: An Excerpt

Jurek Becker (1937–1997) is best known for his novel Jacob the Liar, which follows the life of a man, who, like Becker, lived in the Lódz ghetto during the German occupation of Poland in the Second World War. Throughout his career, Becker also wrote nonfiction, and the essays, lectures and interview
Read More

‘The Last Days of Mandelstam’ by Vénus Khoury-Ghata: An Excerpt

The year is 1938. The great Russian poet and essayist Osip Mandelstam is forty-seven years old and is dying in a transit camp near Vladivostok after having been arrested by Stalin’s government during the repression of the 1930s and sent into exile with his wife. Stalin, ‘the Kremlin mountaineer, mur
Read More

‘A Land Like You’ by Tobie Nathan: An Excerpt

Part fantastical fable, part realistic history, A Land Like You draws on ethno-psychiatrist Tobie Nathan’s own Jewish Egyptian heritage and deep knowledge of North African folk beliefs to create a glittering tapestry in which spirit possession and religious mysticism exist side by side wit
Read More

‘Love and Reparation’ by Danish Sheikh: An Excerpt

On 6 September 2018, a decades-long battle to decriminalize queer intimacy in India came to an end. The Supreme Court of India ruled that Section 377, the colonial anti-sodomy law, violated the country’s constitution. ‘LGBT persons,’ the Court said, ‘deserve to live a life unshackled from the shadow
Read More

‘Torture and the War on Terror’ by Tzvetan Todorov: An Excerpt

In Torture and the War on Terror, Tzvetan Todorov argues that the use of the terms 'war' and 'terror' dehumanize the enemy and permit treatment that would otherwise be impermissible. He examines the implications and corrupting impact of the attempt to impose 'good' through violence and the attempt t
Read More

‘One Day a Year’ by Christa Wolf: An Excerpt

During a 1960 interview, East German writer Christa Wolf was asked a curious question: would she describe in detail what she did on September 27th? Fascinated by considering the significance of a single day over many years, Wolf began keeping a detailed diary of September 27th, a practice which she
Read More

‘Aranyak’ by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay: An Excerpt

In Aranyak, a semi-autobiographical novel, Satyacharan is a young graduate in 1920s Calcutta, who, unable to find a job in the city, takes up the post of a ‘manager’ of a vast tract of forested land in neighbouring Bihar. As he is increasingly enchanted and hypnotized by the exquisite beauty of natu
Read More

‘Porcelain’ by Durs Grünbein: An Excerpt

Porcelain is a book-length cycle of forty-nine poems written over the course of more than a decade that together serve as a lament for Durs Grünbein’s hometown, Dresden, which was destroyed in the Allied firebombing of February 1945. Musical, fractured, ironic, and elegiac, Porcelain 
Read More

‘Air Raid’ by Alexander Kluge: An Excerpt

On April 8, 1945, several American bomber squadrons were informed that their German targets were temporarily unavailable due to cloud cover. As it was too late to turn back, the assembled ordnance of more than two hundred bombers was diverted to nearby Halberstadt. A mid-sized cathedral town of no p
Read More

‘An Infusion of Violets’ by Nancy Naomi Carlson: An Excerpt

Using the same musical sense of language she applies to her translations, Nancy Naomi Carlson masterfully interprets herself in An Infusion of Violets. Filled with striking images and sensuous language, this book is an evocative mix of formal and free-verse poems.Buy this title from our we
Read More

‘Doing’ by Jean-Luc Nancy: An Excerpt

In Doing, one of the most prominent and lucid articulators of contemporary French theory and philosophy examines the precarious but urgent relationship between being and doing. His book is not so much a call to action as a summons to more vigorous thinking, the examination and reflection that must p
Read More

‘Conversations, Volume 2’ by Jorge Luis Borges: An Excerpt

In Conversations: Volume 2, Jorge Luis Borges and Osvaldo Ferrari engage in a dialogue that is both improvisational and frequently humorous as they touch on subjects as diverse as epic poetry, detective fiction, Buddhism and the moon landing. With his signature wit, Borges offers insight into t
Read More

‘Voices of Dissent’ by Romila Thapar: An Excerpt

Written by one of India’s best-known public intellectuals, Voices of Dissent has immense relevance. It is essential reading for anyone who contemplates not only the Indian past but also the direction in which society and the nation is headed.Buy this title from our website.An ExcerptDissent, di
Read More

‘Where the Bird Disappeared’ by Ghassan Zaqtan: An Excerpt

This lyrical novel, set in the surroundings of the Palestinian village of Zakariyya, weaves a narrative rich in sensory detail yet troubled by the porousness of memory. It tells the story of the relationship between two figures of deep mythical resonance in the region, Yahya and Zakariyya, figures w
Read More

‘Among the Almond Trees’ by Hussein Barghouthi: An Excerpt

Palestinian writer Hussein Barghouthi was in his late forties when he was diagnosed with lymphoma. He had feared it was HIV, so when the cancer diagnosis was confirmed, he left the hospital feeling a bitter joy because his wife and son would be spared. The bittersweetness of this reaction
Read More

‘Shades of Black’ by Nathalie Etoke: An Excerpt

One might say that the womb of death—the Middle Passage, slavery, and colonization—gave birth to Black populations. Taking this observation as her point of departure, Nathalie Etoke examines Black existence today in her riveting new book, Shades of Black. In a white-supremacist world, Blac
Read More

‘Wildfire’ by Banaphool: An Excerpt

Banaphool—which means wildflower—was the pen name of beloved Bengali writer Balaichand Mukhopadhyay (1899–1979). Wildfire brings together 45 short pieces by Banaphool that are brilliantly representative of his uncompromising, multifaceted talent. Stark and short, often much too short, some
Read More

‘The Open-Winged Scorpion’ by Abul Bashar: An Excerpt

The ten stories collected in this volume portray the dreams, hopes, fears and anxieties of their protagonists, brutally exposing their human frailties. A wife is forced into her husband’s cross-border trafficking business; a fakir is tortured for not following scriptural norms; a Hindu widow times h
Read More

‘Herbert’ by Nabarun Bhattacharya: An Excerpt

May 1992. In Russia, Boris Yeltsin is showing millions of communists the spectre of capitalism. Yugoslavia is disintegrating. United Germany is uncertain about their next move, and communism is collapsing all around. And in a corner of old Calcutta, Herbert Sarkar, sole proprietor of a company that
Read More

‘Our Santiniketan’ by Mahasweta Devi: An Excerpt

In Our Sanitikentan, the late Mahasweta Devi, one of India’s most celebrated writers, vividly narrates her days as a schoolgirl in the 1930s. As the aging author struggles to recapture vignettes of her childhood, these reminiscences bring to the written page not only her individual sensibility
Read More

‘Yankinton’ by Rachel Shihor: An Excerpt

Set in the early days of the Jewish state, Yankinton tells the stories of refugees from the Holocaust and antisemitism who struggled to build new lives in Israel. Through the eyes of a young Orthodox Jewish girl growing up in Tel Aviv, we watch a colourful mosaic of characters from Soviet revolution
Read More

‘Maryam’ by Alawiya Sobh: An Excerpt

This acclaimed novel is set during the Lebanese Civil War and offers a rare depiction of women’s experiences amid this sprawling, region-defining conflict. In Alawiya Sobh’s hands, the details of everyday life mix with female voices from across classes, sects, and generations to create an indel
Read More

‘Firefly’ by Jabbour Douaihy: An Excerpt

An unforgettable portrait of Beirut and the Lebanese Civil War (1975–90), seen through the eyes of a young man caught in-between a religious upheaval.Translated from the Arabic by Paula Haydar and Nadine SinnoAn ExcerptAround ten o'clock, Beirut exploded all at once. The factions had restrained the
Read More

‘Blind Spot’ by Myriam Tadessé: An Excerpt

Drawing on her personal experiences as a biracial Ethiopian-French woman and her family history, Tadessé explores the realities of life for mixed-race individuals in France through her searing and honest memoir.Translated from the French by Gila WalkerBuy this title from our webs
Read More

‘Necklace/Choker’ by Jana Bodnárová: An Excerpt

In this highly acclaimed novel, Jana Bodnárová offers an engrossing portrayal of a small Slovak town and its inhabitants in the north of the country against the backdrop of the tumultuous history of the twentieth century. As Sara, the protagonist of Necklace/Choker, returns to her native t
Read More

‘Seasons in Hippoland’ by Wanjikũ Wa Ngũgĩ: An Excerpt

Captivating and enchanting, Seasons in Hippoland plays with the tradition of magic realism. Every image in this novel is a story, and every story is a call for resistance to anyone who tries to confine our imagination or corrupt our humanity.Buy this title from our website.An ExcerptAt thirteen
Read More

‘The Divine Song’ by Abdourahman A. Waberi: An Excerpt

This roller-coaster of a novel takes us from the shores of Africa to the musician protagonist’s ancestors’ arrival in the Americas in the hold of the slave ships. From there, the characters journey from Tennessee—under the tutelage of Lili Williams, Sammy’s beloved African-born grandmother—to N
Read More

'We Defy Augury' by Hélène Cixous: Excerpt

We Defy Augury moves easily from Hélène Cixous’s Algerian childhood, to Bacharach in the Rhineland, to, eerily, the Windows on the World restaurant atop the World Trade Center, in the year 2000. This unique experience, which could only have come from the pen of Cixous, is now available in English, a
Read More

'The Kingdom and the Garden' by Giorgio Agamben: Excerpt

What happened to paradise after Adam and Eve were expelled? The question may sound like a theological quibble, or even a joke, but in The Kingdom and the Garden, Giorgio Agamben uses it as a starting point for an investigation of human nature and the prospects for political transformation.Translated
Read More

'On the Royal Road' by Elfriede Jelinek: Excerpt

A searing farce based on Donald Trump’s presidency, as topical as the evening news, yet with insight built on a lifetime of closely observing politics and culture, On the Royal Road brings into focus the phenomenon of right-wing populism, which spreads like a virus and has a lasting effect on global
Read More

The Quarantine Tapes: Naveen Kishore

The Quarantine Tapes is a daily program from Onassis LA and dublab. Hosted by Paul Holdengräber, the series chronicles shifting paradigms in the age of social distancing. Each day, Paul Holdengräber calls a guest for a 20-minute discussion about how they are experiencing the global pandemic.In a
Read More

Ravish Kumar. On Being a Migrant.

'Life takes you to a platform where you are constantly changing trains or waiting for one to take you elsewhere' I have an aluminium trunk last carted in 2004, when I moved from a rented flat to my own apartment. It’s been lying in the same place ever since. Occasionally, I repla
Read More

Reinhard Jirgl. On Being a Writer.

At the beginning I had no intention of making writing a career or earning any money. Back then, when I began (around 1975 and the years thereafter), I did not think of writing as a calling at all; I had sought a path for the, at that time, existentially unsatisfactory situation I’d put myself int
Read More

Hans Magnus Enzensberger, on Seagull’s unique annual catalogues

So the magpie adorns its nest with everything it finds, no matter how nondescript.It likes to pull out everything that glitters, not caring much whether it’s paste or diamond.My magpies are / indispensable, / they laugh at me.There’s no relying on you, / magpies. / How you surpass me.You do know wha
Read More

A Note from the Publisher

Independence. Of choice. To do what you want to and not be dictated by ‘target audiences’. No one can know for certain what people will read. It is always after the ‘event’ that one grows wise to the fact. Often the same wisdom winks back at you and asks, ‘What if you throw me out of the window and
Read More