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1911, The Other Revolution

Isabel Hilton

‘Anniversaries, of course, can be a two-edged sword: they invite historical reappraisal.’

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.’

A Colossal Hoard

Ian Hamilton

‘For James Boswell, admiration was a busy, intimate affair.’

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.’

A Fight in Bethnal Green

Jeremy Harding

‘There was no sizing up, no graceful footwork, none of the rhetoric of the game: this was unmitigated invective.’

A Ghost Story

Rick Gekoski

‘It drives me crazy when I can’t make it stop.’

A Hand Made Art

Per Gedin

‘This new kind of ‘planned’ best-seller invariably influences every other form of book production, most notably that of the book selling.’

A Journey into Afghanistan

Peregrine Hodson

‘We had been travelling for a week, and had reached the territory of the Hesb Nasr: a rival group of mujahedin who were notorious for ambushing travellers, stealing their weapons and skinning their victims.’

A Life in Clothes

Ruth Gershon

‘The children of ruling families are born in the purple’.

A Plausible Portrait

Ted Hodgkinson

‘My friends say I am secretive and devious,’ he wrote in the introduction to Picasso and Dora. ‘They’re right.’

A Sign of Weakness

Terrence Holt

‘Fast asleep, even comatose, a living body moves.’

A Voice from the Vault

Benjamin Griffin

‘You ought never to edit except when awake.’

Actively Portly

Ian Hamilton

‘When Ian Rush was asked to explain his failure to score goals for Juventus he replied that being in Italy was like being in a foreign country.’

Actus Tragicus

Sir John Eliot Gardiner

‘Bach devises an ingenious symmetrical structure to underpin in music the theological division between Law and Gospel. ’

Adam’s Navel

Stephen Jay Gould

‘Since Omphalos is such spectactular nonsense, readers may rightly ask why I choose to discuss it at all. I do so, first of all, because its author was such a serious and fascinating man.’

After Gandhi

Trevor Fishlock

‘His room is as he left it, furnished with a carpet, a spinning wheel, a low white table, a mattress and cushion.’

Airds Moss

Kathleen Jamie

‘It could almost have been Neolithic, an ancient and mysterious earthworks.’

Among the Tulips

Richard Holmes

‘When young James Boswell arrived in Holland in August 1763 at the age of twenty-two, his first impulse was to commit suicide.‘

An Egyptian in Baghdad

Amitav Ghosh

‘It was exactly three weeks since Saddam Hussein had invaded Kuwait, and miraculously, Abu-Ali, the old shopkeeper, was on his feet.’

An Open Letter to Mbeki

Petina Gappah

‘You are human, Mr Mbeki, and are therefore prey to the resentments and obstinacies that plague the mere mortal.’

An Unfathomable Ship

Uwe Johnson

‘It is the name of an American ammunition ship which went aground in the summer of 1944; as a result the ship sank, since which time only the tips of its derricks and masts and a corner of the bridge are visible.’

Another Age

Helon Habila

‘This snapshot of us in the foyer of the MuSoN Hall has come to symbolize a lot of things to me. Our smiles seem to say that the worst for our country is over, we are gazing beyond the camera into a new and brighter future, where we could be poets without fear of arrest, murder or exile. We had cheques worth 50,000 naira and 20,000 naira in our pockets. But above all the picture is a confirmation of my deepest dream, that of becoming a writer.’

Anthony Shadid

Cecil Hourani

‘Anthony’s life was a triumph and a tragedy. It was a tragedy which I believe he foresaw.’

Are We Related?

Liz Jobey

‘Most family relationships are difficult, and sometimes they can become the most difficult human relationships of all.’

Arguing With The Dead

Dan Jacobson

‘My childhood was spent in Kimberley, the diamond-mining town in South Africa.In those years most of the mines were no longer being worked’.

Asking for it

James Hamilton-Paterson

‘Having my hair cut one morning in February 1999, I fell foul of one of those barber-shop discussions which are a feature of life here in Italy’.

At War With Writing About War

Gabe Hudson

‘Perhaps a more precise and academicish moniker for War Literature would be, Suicide Averted In Favour of Writing.’

August in my Father’s House

Michael Ignatieff

‘Dinner has been cleared away from the table under the mulberry tree, and she is sitting at the table with a wine glass in her hand watching the light dwindling away behind the purple leaves of the Japanese maple.’

Bang!

James Hamilton-Paterson

‘My daydreams were full of explosions.’

Barely Imagined Beings

Caspar Henderson

‘Monsters of one kind or another are woven into virtually all the cultures of which we have record.’

Beirut Diary

Robert Fisk

‘The nun beside me on the helicopter this morning had a tight, self-righteous face.’

Best of Young American Novelists 2: Introduction

Ian Jack

Ian Jack introduces Granta 97: Best of Young American Novelists 2.

Best of Young British Novelists 2003: Introduction

Ian Jack

‘What had been an exercise to publicize the literary novel, at a time when there were few spotlights on this particular branch of culture, might now have a new role as an independent consumer's guide to novelists who deserved to be read in an era where 'a thrilling debut by a young writer of enormous talent' is the standard blurb, and where there are now so many spotlights directed by marketing money and the size of the writer's advance.’

Betrayal

Adam Foulds

‘The thrill of this film – and it is thrilling – is seeing that understood and played out by actors of incredible skill.’

Blackmore’s Tart

Tony Gould

‘I remember puberty as a time of purgatory.’

Bogotá, Colombia

Roger Garfitt

‘Driving along la Séptima, the main road into the centre of Bogotá, we find ourselves blocked by a high-speed convoy.’