A novella by Xiaolu Guo.

First commissioned for Weather Stations, an international project exploring literary responses to climate change.


A great iceberg is drifting on the water. If you were a bird or a fish, and if you followed this iceberg long enough, you would arrive somewhere in Greenland. There you might see a dead seagull frozen on the snow, or the skeleton of a large musk ox on a hillside. Or, you might meet this Inuit family in a small igloo house. Our story starts from their igloo.

So what’s this Inuit family…

World leaders have been meeting year after to year to tackle climate change. Did this year’s talks in Lima manage to get anything done? Or are we all still headed for a worldwide climate apocalypse? We asked Matt Sellar from the UK Youth Climate Coalition to explain what happened at Lima, and how it affects our future.

Accompanying comics provided by Oisín McGann, Writer in Residence at Tallaght Community Arts as part of our ongoing Weather Stations project.

A little over twenty-two years ago almost all of the countries in the world gathered together and decided it was time we…

When Rik Mayall died earlier this year, one of his most iconic works came to my attention. It was The Young Ones: the early 80s sitcom depicting student living. The Young Ones featured, and to some extent perpetuated, those familiar student clichés that have long since become defunct — poor but idealistic students sitting in damp-ridden, squat-like residences, eating beans on toast, angry with society and spending far too much time shouting about it. In 2014, this vision of studentship has been replaced with the cash-rich (even if it is borrowed money) undergrad entrepreneur, juggling internships and negotiating a highly…

We asked Padraig Reidy to explain the limits of free speech through the medium of offensive jokes.
Comic artists
Hannah Berry & Daniel Locke followed close behind with brushes.

Illustration by Hannah Berry

I went to the Bulimic Society’s annual party last week. I knew I was in the right place, because at the end of the night a cake jumped out of a girl.

This, clearly, didn’t happen. This, obviously, is a joke. The question before us though, is whether it is a “good” joke, whether it is a “funny” joke.

When Hong Kong was handed over to China from British rule in 1997, the promise was that nothing would really change. The metropolis would remain as it always was, in a strange compromise called ‘one country, two systems’. Recently China has promised universal suffrage to Hong Kong, to arrive in 2017, but only with previously vetted candidates. Students all over Hong Kong are currently protesting China going back on its word.

Are these protests a storm in a teacup or the sign of a new political awakening for Hong Kong? …

“It will not stop here tonight.”

“Not at all?”


“It won’t stop here at all?” I say, trying to damp down the edge to my voice.

The guy in the Deutsche Bahn uniform looks at me and shrugs, meaning he doesn’t understand. I’m embarrassed because I don’t speak German and because in my oversized coat I think I look like a little lost child.

Trying again, I say, “The sleeper train won’t come?”

“The sleeper?” he says. “Der Schlafwagen, nein – she will not be stopping in Köln tonight.”

So I work for this lefty, liberal arts organisation and…

Free Word Centre

We promote literature, literacy and free expression from our London hub, Free Word Centre. Learn more at freewordcentre.com.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store