Show me a university which is a hotbed of thin-skinned offence-taking, where every unacceptable idea is policed and every person who happens to hold one is hounded out of a job, and I will show you a university that isn't a university but an ideological prison camp and indoctrination centre.

It isn't only in the name of free speech that the views of an itchy polemicist should be tolerated - and I say itchy polemicist promoting thought, not itchy ideologue promoting violence - but because provocation is indispensable to the workings of a sound, creative culture.

You are changed by the people you are closest to, and this has allowed me to forgive myself for the person I once was.

Words do not necessarily make us moral. And there have been presidents before who have stumbled over syntax and looked foolish when the words they have been forced to speak have been their own. But Trump is uniquely stunted. A child listening to two of his speeches could reproduce a third without the use of a dictionary.

The painter Sidney Nolan once told me I tried too hard. Advice I've been trying hard to follow ever since.

Does anyone who leaves a Baltic country ever want to return to it? Someone must, I suppose.

I have never met an intelligent optimist. That is not to say I think pessimism makes you intelligent, but I have always felt like an Old Testament Jeremiah or Cassandra from ancient Greece. I want to run down the streets warning people.

It was reading Hamlet that ruined the concept of authenticity for me, not because Hamlet lacked existentialist credentials himself - indeed, as an earlier discontented Dane, he could be said to have laid the ground for Kierkegaard - but because the line 'to thine own self be true' was spoken by that humourless old ninny, Polonius.

Reading literature remains a civilising activity, no matter that it's literature in which people do and say abominable things and the author curses like the very devil. What's at issue is how we describe the way the civilising works.

A novel is not a play. A novel takes one reader at a time into its confidence. It can be shockingly personal. Private, even.

That a nation's statuary will reflect beliefs and attitudes that are no longer current or congenial hardly needs arguing. In most instances, it doesn't at all imply a continuing reverence.

Many a woman has suffered at the hands of a Paul Morel. There's more than one way of being brutal.

Nothing is more interesting in a novel or a play than an affair.

I was brought up a Jew but, you know, that way of being Jewish - the New York way. We were stomach Jews; we were Jewish-joke Jews. We were bagel Jews. We didn't go to synagogue. I'm frightened of synagogue to this day.

Trawl through the world of blogs and tweets, and you will find readers complaining when they stumble upon a word they don't recognise, an attitude that doesn't accord with their own, a passage of thought they find hard work, a joke they don't get or of which they don't approve.

Our connection to the great myths of our natures is murky. A mother might see the Medea in herself without imagining she will ever do away with her children.

Passionate dissent from the will of the multitude should be respected, not derided.

Even the wordiest of men know there's a time to button it.

There was no question of ever sending us to Jewish schools... They wanted us out there. They wanted us to be lawyers and doctors. They wanted us out of the religious thing, apart from that ethnic bonding.

Politically it's easy to salve one's conscience, no matter that salving it rarely makes the problem go away. You join the Labour Party, write articles attacking the privileged, give the money you spend on opera tickets to homeless charities, and vow never to go to anything that can be considered elitist again.

My mother's side taught me to be a little bit afraid of everything. For a long time, I was quiet and cautious. But shyness makes you notice other people's excruciations and feel for them. I think that made a writer of me.

Leaned on by Turkey and understandably wary of false equivalences - for not every death is a massacre, and not every war is genocidal - Israel connives in Armenian genocide denial.

The Stop The War Coalition is a sort of home to Jew-haters because its hate music about Israel is so catchy.

Of the secular mysteries to which I wake with fresh and sometimes angry amazement every day, the queue is the second-most baffling. The first is the fan.

Literature is a house with many mansions.

Of my old tendency to overdo the dedication and deface the title page with florid compliments and obscure quotes which the recipient cannot read, I will say only that I learnt my lesson when I had to shell out with my own money for a hardback I'd vandalised and now limit myself to 'Good wishes.'

I am enthralled until the last ball Djokovic hits, and the moment it is over and he is on his knees eating grass, I sink into my chair, cannot believe I have spent another fleeting fortnight of the few summers I have left caring about the outcome of contests I will have forgotten in the blink of an eye, and begin to question my sanity.

Trump can be damned to all hell with his enclosed little world in which no thought is possible. But it's the encouraging of half the people of America and many more besides to hate words, hate what words can do, hate thought, hate the liberal, the sophisticated, the metropolitan. It's anger-making.

I am in denial about sport. I refuse to accept that I watch it. I am not the kind of man who watches sport.

The day I don't attend to my nostrils is the day I will have forsworn that world and become a different person. Someone otherwise preoccupied. Someone who couldn't care less what anyone thinks of his appearance - someone for whom the material life has lost its appeal.

'Family Guy'. It's not only the funniest programme on television, it's the most wonderfully, indecorously literate.

Certainly a curtain has never fallen too soon for me. Every play is too long, even the short ones. Every concert, every film, every television programme the same.

You don't remember people you love by the wise things they say but the silly things they do.

A healthy culture doesn't memorialise only those it agrees with.

Nothing is definite, nothing is finished, nothing is determined.

It is against the spirit of our non-discriminating times to openly prefer one sort of music to another, so let's just say that hearing grand orchestral music in a public place is exhilarating in a way that hearing popular music never can be, if only because, in a popular music age, a full orchestra is less familiar to our ears.

There is a shop close to where I live, outside which, on certain nights of the month - I've no idea if the transit of the moon determines precisely when - fans of designer skateboards queue from early evening in order - well in order, I presume - to be among the first to jump on a skateboard when the shop opens in the morning.

When I see ultra-Orthodox Jews stamping all over Jaffa, or when I see them deciding who is a Jew, I think: 'What's happened to the grand dream of Zionism?' I don't like to see ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel. What's wrong with Manchester?

Love is a brainworm.

Sometimes I felt like my columns were like little novels in themselves. But I wasn't writing what I believed. I'm not interested in what I believe.

It is a nonsense to me when people come along and tell me not to be pessimistic; or that culture has always been going to the bad. Well, yes, it has, and it is an author's job to point it out.

I was young; I was newly married. My Cambridge degree was still warm in my pocket - a roll of parchment guaranteeing me, I thought, a sort of free ambassadorial passage to any campus of my choosing, and I had chosen Sydney - the world was all before me.

It's a law of our natures, especially when the political fit is on us, to applaud where we already approve, and deride where we don't.

The terrorist isn't a problem because he doesn't conform; he's a problem because he does. It's what he conforms to that makes him dangerous.

Sometimes, a writer's life alone can tell a story.

For my own poor part, I go to great lengths to keep my nostrils sightly.

To assert that antisemitism is unlike other racisms is not to claim a privilege for it. Hating a Jew is no worse than hating anyone else.

You cannot exercise and be amused about it. You cannot integrate the dying bug into your core workout and hold to the position that you are a spiritual being. In this way, the body and the mind are each other's opposite unto death, which is why you have to choose which of them you are going to follow.

People keep saying you can't satirize Trump because he's beyond satire, but it's not difficult to just let him out and let him walk upon the stage and say his own words.