Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

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Best Book of 2003: The Curious Life of Robert Hooke

Daisy Hildyard

Daisy Hildyard on why Lisa Jardine's The Curious Life of Robert Hooke is the best book of 2003.

Best Book of 1981: Lanark

Lorna Gibb

Lorna Gibb on why Alasdair Gray's Lanark is the best book of 1981.

Barnby Dun

Colin Grant

‘Restored nature would be a phantom of its former self. The experience would be akin to visiting a wildlife park.’

Whale Fall

Rebecca Giggs

‘The whale as landfill. It was a metaphor, and then it wasn’t.’

Upriver

Kathleen Jamie

‘I liked the way she travelled: with her iPod in one pocket, her traditional Yup’ik woman’s knife, or ulu, in the other.’

An (almost) perfect day

Anne De Gelas

‘I think of the self-portrait as a mirror of all the violence that befalls us.’

Greg Jackson | First Sentence

Greg Jackson

‘I am being, I believe, about as forthright as I am being coy.’

(nostalgia)

Juliet Jacques

‘I ended up piecing my life together through other people.’

The Cage of You

Kerry Howley

‘They treated their bodies like some exotic animal they’d found fast asleep, beings they needed to wake to truly know.’

A Brief Guide to Gender in India

Minal Hajratwala

‘Please be creative. This is only the beginning.’

After Zero Hour

Janine di Giovanni

‘It seemed there was a little piece of Iraqi earth inside me that refused to let me go.’

The Battle for Kessab

Charles Glass

‘No Armenian can forget 1915. From 24 April 1915, which Armenians commemorate as the beginning of a slaughter that in fact started earlier, the Ottoman Empire killed between 650,000 and 1.5 million Armenians in their homes, on death marches and in concentration camps.’

Introduction: India – Another Way of Seeing

Ian Jack

Ian Jack's introduction to Granta 130: India.

Anjali Joseph | First Sentence

Anjali Joseph

‘I kept returning to the Beckett stories, a favourite since I came upon them in my late teens.’

The Abyss

Rebekah Frumkin

‘I came home this past fall to the Chicago suburb where I’d lived with my parents from age nine until I left for college in 2008, and I moved back into my childhood bedroom.’

Self-Made Man

Mark Gevisser

Mark Gevisser examines the personal, political and social issues of transgender identity in America.

The Making of a Writer

Kent Haruf

‘I learned to live completely inwardly in those years.’

The Beauty of the Package

Pico Iyer

‘You can throw yourself into any fantasy, she (and her country) might have been saying, so long as you don’t mistake it for real life.’

Scavengers

Adam Johnson

‘I was dying to buy something, anything that would help my wife and children understand the profound surrealism and warped reality I’d experienced on my research trip to North Korea.’

Aracelis Girmay | First Sentence

Aracelis Girmay

‘For me, it happens most with early 90s R&B.’

A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me

David Gates

‘It took longer and longer for the next one to come, and then there wasn’t a next one.’

Foreigners

Daniel Gascón

‘It would’ve been a magical moment if my neighbours hadn’t started fucking at that very second.’

Dogfight Over Karachi

Khademul Islam

‘I slowly went down the stairs, feeling my being unspooling.’

Patrick French | First Sentence

Patrick French

‘In Edwardian days, if you were growing up in England (though Maurice was from Ireland) your life was regimented.’

The Rainy Season

Lindsey Hilsum

‘In Rwanda today so much is unspoken or only whispered.’

Mess

Romesh Gunesekera

‘You have to go on the offensive until you smell victory. Then you have the aphrodisiac and can go full tilt.’

1979

Aminatta Forna

‘What happened in 1979 has happened many times before and many times since, in places where people have set themselves free and believed with all their hearts that the freedom they had fought for was real and lasting, only to be recaptured.’

Selvy After the War

Frances Harrison

‘She exudes happiness. Somewhere along the line she understood that this was the best way to defeat the men who tortured her.’

A Dynasty of Album Cover Art

Lemi Ghariokwu

‘The music is as powerful as it gets and beneath his knife-edge, cutting sarcasm, Fela’s voice rages.’

The Third Pole

Gavin Francis

‘I came to the Himalayas not because of a dream of mountains or of animals, but because of a map.’

The Two Gardens

Lorna Gibb

‘There are two gardens in my memory. The first was hidden behind the rows of shabby council houses where I grew up.’

I Love This Dirty Town

Anjum Hasan

‘What is hard to miss and impossible not to grieve over is how present-day Shillong has been overwhelmed by the material aspirations of its people.’

Jenni Fagan | My Writing Playlist

Jenni Fagan

Best of Young British Novelist Jenni Fagan selects five songs that she loves to write to.

Introduction: Best of Young British Novelists 4

John Freeman

‘We live in unreaderly times, but our belief is that these novelists will be exceptions to the general rule of irrelevance faced by writers today.’

Xiaolu Guo | My Writing Playlist

Xiaolu Guo

‘The challenge of flowing in one continuous outpouring of language in a novel is my killer.’