Explore essays and memoir
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.’
‘I wonder whether there’s a real moral difference between killing an animal and killing a human being.’ Translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett.
‘Wildlife foundations find themselves calling for the deaths of tens of thousands of wild animals.’
‘Swifts come closer than any other creature to living in the sky and having air and ceaseless movement as their home.’
‘What idiom or instrument captures how the weather is felt by the animals, in their bodies, their nests and niches?’
Jeremy Gavron | Notes on Craft
‘Is the conventional novel the closest model we have to our condition? Or simply the bedtime story that most comforts us?’
Above the Tree Line
Teva Harrison visits and illustrates the Northwest Passage through the Canadian arctic for Granta 141: Canada
Han Suyin: A Friendship
'Han Suyin, elegant postcolonial diva avant la lettre, icon of the new, nonaligned Asia, thorn in the side of the dying British Empire and the American Right.'
Webs of Fiction
‘The complexity of stories is not singularly reliant on an abundance of words.’
When We Fight, We Have Our Children With Us
‘We are all politically involved whether we like it or not, and children are already on the frontlines.’
Anosh Irani | Notes on Craft
‘The interiority that we keep speaking of in fiction is built on pain’
‘Language is a risk that a nation takes. If a language survives, its people do too.’ Translated from the French by David Homel.
Plus tard, ils me diront comme tu étais un grand homme. Un savant. Un érudit de la chasse.
The File: Lost Then Found
‘Even for those of us who feel we have integrated our history, there can be fragments, like shrapnel, that push to the surface without warning.’
Language In Exile
One summer’s day, for the first time, Mitzi broached the past. Past in the present, so present, with everything it had deposited in this room that suddenly seemed so vast. Everything that the grim tide deposits on the shores of a life.
The Survivals of Lafcadio Hearn
‘Did Hearn feel comfortable in Japan because being a foreigner overshadowed his physical difference?’
Out of the Cell
‘I was inside a silence that was not an absence of noise so much as the living presence of everything I habitually walked – or sleep-walked – past.’
Water, Water, Everywhere
Darrell Hartman on water: from diving to climate change, hurricanes Irma and Harvey to the advent of ‘Blue Mind’.
‘The cortex shrinks where the cells used to be. The spaces in between expand. Islands in the sea of the mind. An archipelago of the former self.’ Sinéad Gleeson on Alzheimer's disease.
A Mingling | State of Mind
‘My empathy may become a vehicle of insight for me and therefore help me to help you or it may debilitate me altogether, make me so sad I am no good to you whatsoever.’
The Recall of Herman Harcourt
‘I had the queer feeling of looking into a mirror of the projected future, of perhaps seeing how easily his fall could be a rehearsal for my own.’
Monster | State of Mind
‘Today’s a day for you to feel blocked and impeded; a coward in work and love; resenting duty; suspecting pleasure.’
On Jesus’ Son
‘Jesus’ Son is a song, a glorious clear hymn, full of the notes of bad decisions, of rotten fucking luck, of causing real and lasting damage to yourself and to the people around you.’
All That Was Familiar
The story of two women fleeing Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria.
‘It was my child’s outlook to think most things were right. And yet if life’s eternal drama is of events seeking a more perfect state, their life and mine was not that.’
Vinyl Road Trip
After an unexpected email, David Flusfeder heads to Detroit to discover his father’s history and the world of vinyl manufacturing.
Lindsey Hilsum | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘We need a new genre of travel writing, gleaned from the stories refugees and migrants.’