The best of the long read in 2023

When a US businessman took over a beloved garden a decade ago, he decided on a radical new approach, all in the name of sustainability. But angry critics claim it’s just plain neglect

From her shimmering novels to her ‘living autobiographies’, Deborah Levy’s work inspires a devotion few literary authors ever achieve

Computer scientist Joseph Weizenbaum was there at the dawn of artificial intelligence – but he was also adamant that we must never confuse computers with humans

Nisar Ahmed was almost killed in the Delhi riots. But when he became a witness in court cases against the alleged perpetrators, he realised that was only the start of his troubles

Having grown up in different cultures with different expectations, my mother and I have often clashed. But as my daughter grows older, I have come to see our relationship in a different light

When a microbe was found munching on a plastic bottle in a rubbish dump, it promised a recycling revolution. Now scientists are attempting to turbocharge those powers in a bid to solve our waste crisis. But will it work?

Andrew Wylie is agent to an extraordinary number of the planet’s biggest authors. His knack for making highbrow writers very rich helped to define a literary era – but is his reign now coming to an end?

Since Sudan’s capital was engulfed by violence in April, life there has been all but destroyed. As we tried to get family members to safety, the ruination of my former home became hard to fathom

What started out as a small protest escalated into a decade-long struggle between the council and hundreds of ordinary people who decided to take radical action to save their city’s trees

Players, pundits and fans complain bitterly that referees are getting worse each season – but is that fair?

(Football fans should also see this piece about Juventus)

The Clipper round the world yacht race was created for amateurs seeking the ultimate challenge. But did they underestimate the risks?

There were so many warnings it would fail. How did it get this far?

Once hailed as a ‘handsome’ import, this most rampant of plants has come to be seen as a sinister, ruinous enemy. Can it be stopped?

A decade after Maixabel Lasa’s husband was shot by Basque separatists, she received a message from one of his killers. He wanted to meet her

When the great apes at Furuvik Zoo broke free from their enclosure last winter, the keepers faced a terrible choice. This is the story of the most dramatic 72 hours of their lives

I was 10 years old in 1992 when Kabul was bombarded by warring forces, and life became a cycle of hunger, fear and horror. Then as now, children bear the brunt of war

The Kenyan novelist’s life and work has intersected with many of the biggest events of the past century. At 85, he reflects on his long, uncompromising life in writing

For the past two years, Betsy Stanko has been leading an unprecedented investigation into why the police have been failing so badly to tackle sexual violence. But is there any chance of fixing a system that seems so broken?

Plenty of people will tell you the East Neuk of Fife in Scotland is the best place in the world to eat fish and chips. So what happens when its chippies – and chippies across the UK – start to close?

Mary and Derek weren’t the first couple to get together at Easterlea Rest Home. But those other relationships had been more like friendships – and this was something else entirely

And finally: In case you’re curious, these were our Top 10 most read pieces of 2023 and these were the 10 most read pieces from our archive.

long read mag Photograph: The Guardian

Several of these pieces appear in The Guardian Long Read magazine – a beautifully bound 100-page special print edition, available to order from the Guardian bookshop and on sale at selected WH Smith Travel stores

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