Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

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Passport Control

Kwame Dawes

‘I am Ghanaian. This is my legal label. I was born there. It is my inheritance.’

Into the Cosmos

Chloe Aridjis

‘In those fervently atheist times, it wasn’t God or his angelic messengers who would come forth from the sky, but the cosmonaut.’

Lavande

Ann Beattie

‘It seemed impossible, but probably everyone marries thinking such a thing impossible.’

The Pretty Women of Paris

Anonymous

‘For the last fifteen years she has been richly kept by a Russian prince, who revels in her brutality, viciousness, extravagance and love of brandy.’

Mona’s Story

Urvashi Butalia

‘I’m a woman, I’ve always wanted to be one, it’s that simple.’

Six Brazilian Songs

Teju Cole

Teju Cole shares six favourite Brazilian songs.

The Life and Death of a Homosexual

Pierre Clastres

‘There was no sweetness in the air that day: the corpse gave off a terrible stench’.

Tales Out of School

Kees Beekmans

‘But it seems I’ve said something stupid again, and blasphemous to boot.’

The Meaning of Zombies

Naomi Alderman

‘They’re the interchangeable anonymous people we encounter on our daily commute, those whose humanity we cannot acknowledge.’

LA Women

Douglas Brooker

‘I was bored. That was how it started. Anything I ever did that amounted to anything–or not–has always been the result of being sick of doing something else.’

Antediluvian

John Biguenet

‘To the inexperienced, hurricane stories always sound like exaggerations.’

Meat Country

J.M. Coetzee

‘What the imagination cannot encompass is death. Death, it says to itself, is the end of pain. Death is a relief.’

Delinquent in Derry

Nik Cohn

‘Across the river, in a Catholic enclave in the Waterside district, there was a disused funeral home in which, three nights a week, at 6d a shot, contraband teen movies could be sat through and sometimes seen, according to the state of the projector.’

How to Fly

John Burnside

‘I flew for the first time when I was nine years old.’

New New World

Peter Conrad

‘I left Australia at the age of twenty, carrying with me everything I thought I would need.’

How to Read the Comics

Ariel Dorfman

‘Unlike the other comic strips in the magazine, ‘The Adventures of Mampato’ was conceived, illustrated, and entirely produced in Chile.’

God and Me

Diana Athill

‘Perhaps it’s just that the human mind is incapable of imagining anything that doesn’t begin.’

An Education

Lynn Barber

‘The whole meeting seemed completely unreal but then everything at that time seemed unreal, so I said ‘Yes, by all means make the film,’ and went back to the hospital and forgot about her.’

Rabih Alameddine | Portrait of My Father

Rabih Alameddine

‘I come from a family that hangs pictures of family on its walls.’

Means of Transport

John Berger

‘Use these photos as means of transport. Ride on them. No passes needed. Go close. Imprudently close. They leave every minute.’

People Don’t Get Depressed in Nigeria

Ike Anya

‘I open the newspaper and the word ‘Nigeria’ catches my eye.’

Against Travel Writing

Robyn Davidson

’Shortly after its publication in 1980 I was surprised to learn that I had written a travel book’.

Kashmir

James Buchan

‘I see in an instant what has brought people to the valley for four centuries.’

An Irrelevant Parochialism

Frederick Bowers

‘What strikes an ex-patriate most about the contemporary British novel is its conformity, its traditional sameness, and its realistically rendered provincialism.’

The First Sense

Robyn Davidson

‘Hearing, they say, is the first of the senses we develop in the womb.’

Trouble at the Waterworks

Edward Blishen

‘Old age is a sustained process of injury. You are being very distinctly shot at.’

Winter

Rich Cohen

‘When everyone was asleep, we put on our boots and waded out into the drifts of Glencoe – a suburban street remade into an eerie winter-scape.’

Naomi Alderman | My Writing Playlist

Naomi Alderman

Naomi Alderman shares five songs she loves to write to.

Letter from Greece

Meaghan Delahunt

‘The only thing between Greece and total collapse is the Greek family.’

Saviours

Paul Eggers

'Mr Thanh, originally of Saigon, conducted his camp-wide rat pogrom so thoroughly that the kids were reduced to throwing rocks at each other.'

Lovely Girls, Very Cheap

Decca Aitkenhead

‘A bar girl in Ko Samui is employed to attract customers. Almost every bar has at least one girl, and some of the larger bars have up to twenty’.

The Fig Tree and the Wasp

Brian Chikwava

‘The day I first saw the dance was the day we had expected to end with the execution of my maternal grandfather.’

Under Eastern Eyes

Timothy Garton Ash

‘They sit around, feet in slippers, drinking wine and swapping jokes about Chernobyl. They have just produced the best journal of new writing in Czechoslovakia. It took about twenty minutes.’

Mr Harris

Tony D’Souza

‘This is why you don’t go to the West Side, I told myself.’

Moscow

Patrick Cockburn

‘Despite all the secrecy, what was happening in the Soviet Union was obvious enough: the old order, the wartime generation, was dying.’

Undoing the folded lie: Poetry after 9/11

Rachael Allen

‘The real feeling of a day that changed everything forever is boiled down so incessantly, and so often, to cliché.’