Dava Sobel

The Planets by Dava Sobel My planet fetish began, as best I can recall, in third grade, at age eight – right around the time I learned that earth had siblings in space, just as I had older brothers in high school and college. The presence of the neighbouring worlds was a revelation at once…

Janet Lewis

Girl Help by Janet Lewis (from The World Split Open, edited by Louise Bernikow) Mild and slow and young, She moves about the room, And stirs the summer dust With her wide broom. In the warm, lofted air, Soft lips together pressed, Soft wispy hair, She stops to rest. And stops to breathe, Amid the…

Nadine Gordimer

Burger’s Daughter by Nadine Gordimer Among the group of people waiting at the fortress was a school-girl in a brown and yellow uniform holding a green eiderdown quilt and, by the loop of its neck, a red hot-water bottle. Certain buses used to pass that way then and passengers looking out will have noticed a…

Elizabeth Jenkins

The Tortoise and the Hare by Elizabeth Jenkins The sunlight of late September filled the pale, formal streets between Portland Place and Manchester. The sky was a burning blue yet the still air was chill. A gold chestnut fan sailed down from some unseen tree and tinkled on the pavement. In the small antique-dealer’s a…

Jo Brand

Can’t Stand Up for Sitting Down by Jo Brand It’s April 1988 and I am on Channel Four live on Friday Night Live. I’m on a raised platform in front of of a crowd of the thinnest, youngest, most attractive people I’ve ever seen who are staring quizzically at me. This may well be because TV…

Lauren Child

Utterly Me, Clarice Bean by Lauren Child This is me, Clarice Bean. I am not an only child, but I sometimes wish i was. My family is six people, which is sometimes too many. Not always, just sometimes. Mainly my dad is mostly in an office answering the phone and going, “I can’t talk now,…

Patricia Cornwell

Postmortem by Patricia Cornwell It was raining in Richmond on Friday, June 6. The relentless downpour, which began at dawn, beat the lilies to naked stalks, and blacktop and sidewalks were littered with leaves. There were small rivers ion the streets, and newborn ponds on playing fields and lawns. I went to sleep to the…