Granta | The Home of New Writing

Explore Essays and memoir


Alice Ash

‘There was fur on the window frame, and we drew into it with our fingernails: dark, mushroomy bursts.’

A new essay by Alice Ash.


Kate Lebo

‘Sam had a urate crystal in his toe, built by genes and rich eating.’

Kate Lebo on Xylitol.


AK Blakemore

‘I often had head lice as a child. Outbreaks circulated around my primary school on a seasonal basis.’

A new essay from the author of The Manningtree Witches.

An Ounce of Gold and Máxima Acuña Atalaya

Joseph Zárate

‘To end up with an ounce of gold – enough to make a wedding ring – you need to extract fifty tonnes of earth, or the contents of forty removal lorries.’

On Vulnerability

Katherine Angel

‘Is anyone an authority on themselves, whether on their sexuality or anything else?’

An excerpt from Tomorrow Sex Will Be Good Again.


Sigrid Rausing

‘Perhaps in isolation a new form of communication is emerging, expressing what readers and writers have always told one another, via books and letters and on the literary stage: I hear you. You are not alone.’

The Stinky Ocean

Ian Jack

‘It was a peculiar, alopecic landscape of hummocks and gullies, with patches of grass growing on what looked like white earth, and rarely a soul to be seen.’

When the Cholera Came

Lindsey Hilsum

‘It was hard not to wonder if the disease was a kind of divine retribution – collective punishment for a collective crime.’

Victim and Accused

Vidyan Ravinthiran

‘I’m curious about the refusal to countenance a connection between disparate experiences – a route by which empathy could travel.’


Rory Gleeson

‘One day, 200 people’s X-rays showed they needed intensive care in order to survive.’

Al-Birr Islamic Trust Morgue, Greenwich Islamic Centre, April 2020

Gus Palmer & Poppy Sebag-Montefiore

‘Palmer’s portraits of Kafil Ahmed sit alongside those of other people risking their lives to take care of others.’

The Mezzanine, or: The Most Important Book About Nothing You’ll Ever Read

Joel Golby

‘It’s like taking an escalator trip into someone else’s mind for an hour, finding nothing of actual substance up there, and realising, as you retreat mournfully back into your own skull, that there’s nothing there, either.’

Death Takes the Lagoon

Ariel Saramandi

Ariel Saramandi on the sinking of the MV Wakashio off the coast of Mauritius.

The Valley and the Stream

Danyl McLauchlan

‘Why does serotonin make you happy? How does it affect mood? What is mood? What is depression? How does any of this stuff work?’