Explore essays and memoir
The Fall of Saigon
‘I wanted to see a communist victory, which I presumed to be inevitable. I wanted to see the fall of a city.’
The Imam and the Indian
‘We were both travelling, he and I: we were travelling in the West. The only difference was that I had actually been there, in person.’
Where is Kigali?
‘Evariste was the nightwatchman. He and I were alone in the house in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, when the killing started.’
Those Who Felt Differently
‘Could grief for one woman have caused all this? We were told so.’
The View from this End
‘It lay like a sodden comma, curled up against its mother, and no one realised it was dead.’
‘Which deaths are tragic and which are not? Who decides what is big and what is little?’
‘After all my travels, I can see now what I couldn’t when I started. In the suffering pollution brings, there is also the glimmer of a different future, its outlines visible through the haze.’
The Poem in the Pocket
‘The note stated that it was by Borges, and I believed that, or at least I wanted to believe it.’
Martin Goodman | Notes on Craft
Martin Goodman on why it took him twenty years to write his latest novel, J SS Bach.
How I Became an SJW
‘I had become a pacifist in the time it took to run between the bedroom and the bathroom of a London flat.’
Best Book of 1921: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
‘I wanted to understand the world and why it hurt, and soon I stumbled on the Tractatus’ Will Harris on the best book of 1921.
Best Book of 1934: Bruno Schulz’s Cinnamon Shops (Sklepy cynamonowe)
David Hayden on why Bruno Schulz’s Cinnamon Shops (Sklepy cynamonowe) is the best book of 1934.
Best Book of 2005: Zadie Smith’s On Beauty
Caoilinn Hughes on why Zadie Smith’s On Beauty is the best book of 2005
Sobre Cardi B
‘Es un himno crudo y catchy escrito por una mujer que ha confesado que escribe sobre lo que le gusta y que lo que le gusta es “fighting bitches”.’
On Cardi B
‘A crude, catchy hymn written by a woman who’s confessed to writing about what she likes, and that what she likes is “fighting bitches”.’
A New Front Line
Lindsey Hilsum shows how investigative reporting has become just as dangerous as frontline correspondence. ‘Investigative reporters are in more peril than ever and the front line has come to Europe.’
Ali Fitzgerald | Notes on Craft
Notes on crafting a graphic memoir from Ali Fitzgerald.
I’m Black So You Don’t Have to Be
'Can the black author really write out of her or his colour? In writing about black characters can they ever escape race?' Colin Grant looks at the evolution of racial politics.
‘My blood is on its way to becoming something that even when given for free can be brokered and sold like ingots or wheat.’
‘Silence allows me to pretend that this happened to someone else a long time ago, and not to me.’
To the Castle and Back
‘I am announcing that I have returned from the USA. I thank all of those who worked in the domestic resistance. Likewise I thank all of us who worked in the foreign resistance.’
Addressing Mental Health Through Reading Well
‘Reading Well is more than just a booklist – it represents the power of reading to change lives.’
The Munduruku People Against Brazil
‘The Middle Tapajós Munduruku are not alone. Indigenous and traditional communities throughout the Tapajós River basin are facing increased degradation of their environment and the cultural sustenance practices that form the foundation of their lifeways.’
Cormac James | Notes on Craft
‘My most recent writing lesson came from Elizabeth Strout, a few months ago. Pay attention, is all she taught me, and it was plenty.’
Louise Bourgeois as I Knew Her
‘The portrait is built up of tiny strokes, one added upon another, like dashes of pencil.’ Translated from the French by Cole Swensen.
The Last Shopkeepers of London
‘It became a kind of mission to find contemporaries of theirs that weren’t closing down, establishments that have continued to flourish, or at least endure.’
The Leech Barometer
‘To be consumed by leeches is to be vital, to be animate, though it is also to be reminded you are something else’s prey, and therefore porous and mortal.’
The one/many problem
‘Other creatures literally stop me breathing. There are so many of them, and only one of me.’ Daisy Hildyard writes about her research into the animal kingdom.
‘A kestrel is not domestic. The one time I tried affection the bird put his beak through my lip.’
Climb the Mountains
'Harm that comes through the hands of those we love must be wrestled with; it does not simply disappear.'
Cumbrian Fell Pony
Sarah Hall writes about the Cumbrian fell pony for Granta 142: Animalia.
‘I would peel wrappers off sandwiches, remove noodles from their boxes, fry up meat before any authorities had the chance to track me and my bounty down.’
‘These bored, frustrated and hungry animals appear as reluctant figures in some unsolvable puzzle, or as victims of a grand experiment whose original purpose is lost in time.’