Granta magazine and Granta Books share a remit to discover and publish the best in new literary fiction, memoir, reportage and poetry from around the world.
The magazine was founded in 1889 by students at Cambridge University as The Granta, a periodical of student politics, badinage and literary enterprise, named after the river that runs through the town. In this original incarnation it published the work of writers like A.A. Milne, Michael Frayn, Stevie Smith, Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath.
In 1979, Bill Buford and Pete de Bolla transformed Granta from a student publication to the literary quarterly it remains today. Each themed issue of Granta turns the attention of the world’s best writers on to one aspect of the way we live now.
Granta Books came ten years later, originally setting out to publish six books a year, distributed and promoted by Penguin. The launch list included John Berger’s Once in Europa, Gabriel García Márquez’s Clandestine in Chile, Martha Gellhorn’s The View from the Ground and Nicholson Baker’s The Mezzanine. Buford later published Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories and books by Ivan Klima and Hans Magnus Enzensberger. He aimed to hold on to the editorial principle that had governed the magazine: to publish ‘only writing we care passionately about’.
In 1997 Granta Books was expanded by its previous owner, Rea Hederman, publisher of the New York Review of Books. He brought in publisher Frances Coady. The company gained its own sales department and quadrupled its publishing programme. Authors brought to the list included Jeanette Winterson, Edward W. Said, Linda Grant, Herta Müller, Iain Sinclair and Misha Glenny.
Publisher Sigrid Rausing acquired Granta publications in 2005, and expanded the list, keeping its high literary character. Present authors include A.M. Homes, Barbara Demick, Rebecca Solnit, Eleanor Catton, Ben Lerner, Madeleine Thien, Jenny Offill, Mark O’Connell, Lisa Halliday, Han Kang and Sayaka Murata. Granta launched a poetry list in 2019, under the direction of the magazine’s poetry editor Rachael Allen. The list includes prize-winning authors Will Harris, Daisy Lafarge and Holly Pester. Rausing is the publisher of Granta Books and Granta magazine. In September 2007, Granta joined the Faber-led sales force, the Independent Alliance.
Granta Books now publishes around thirty new titles a year, providing authors with the intimacy of a small, passionate and creative team while consistently punching above its weight in review coverage, prizes, cultural impact and sales.
Granta magazine and the Granta Poetry imprint are owned by Granta Trust, a charity set up in 2019 to promote new and emerging writing. Jeremy Hardie, an economist and former chair of the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, chairs the Trust’s board. His fellow trustees are the writer Lisa Appignanesi and Sigrid Rausing.
Granta is most celebrated for its ‘Best of Young’ issues, which introduce the most important voices of each generation – in Britain, America, Brazil and Spain – defining the contours of the literary landscape.
Granta has published twenty-seven Nobel Prize laureates.