Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

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Mary O’Donoghue | Notes on Craft

Mary O’Donoghue

In this new series, we give authors a space to discuss the way they write – from technique and style to inspirations that inform their craft.

Among the Citizen Soldiers

Karan Mahajan

Karan Mahajan visits Lexington, Virginia – a centre of the Confederary – in the wake of the far-right rally in Charlottesville.

If Mother’s Happy

Kathleen McCaul Moura

‘Towards the end of my pregnancy, like many women, my emotions were taut, stretched thin like the skin round my middle.’

The Fashion of Kathy Acker

Chris Kraus

An extract from Chris Kraus’s new biography, After Kathy Acker.

Comfort Woman

Erika Krouse

Erika Krouse on her work as a private investigator. ‘An escort service was providing prostitutes for football recruits, directly solicited by the university.’

Hallelujah! A Brief History of Bombing People

Ben Mauk

Ben Mauk on the West’s longstanding love of missiles, drones, bombs and nukes.

Possessed | State of Mind

Jules Montague

‘I am neither fully awake nor entirely asleep. In fact, I wonder if I am even alive.’

Books Do Furnish a Room

Penelope Lively

‘The shelves say something about the person who has stocked them; they say much.’

Threshold | State of Mind

Barry Lopez

‘What we’re about to see is greater than the thing you’re running from.’

Talking Italish

Antonio Melechi

‘For my mother and father, the past and present had both become foreign countries.’

Terra Nova

Robert Moor

Robert Moor remembers hitch-hiking across Newfoundland: ‘The way to pronounce Newfoundland, Bill and Sue instructed me, is to remember that it rhymes with understand.’

I come from a place on your bucket list

Deepti Kapoor

Deepti Kapoor on travel, authenticity and the peculiarity of being Indian in Uganda.

Yet Trouble Came

Phillip Lewis

Phillip Lewis on writing emotional autobiography. ‘A sincere observation followed by a sincere utterance is the most powerful and effective form of communication.’

The Bonds of Trauma

Daniel Magariel

‘An often-unacknowledged truth about families that deal with addiction is that the bonds of trauma can be as challenging to quit as the habit itself.’

Kelly Magee | First Sentence

Kelly Magee

‘Mothers: our first source of love, our first heartbreak.’

International Women’s Day 2017

Josie Mitchell

‘We want to share with you some of our favourite pieces – published by us and by others – that present clear-headed explorations of gender in our society’

Olivia Laing | Is Travel Writing Dead?

Olivia Laing

‘Which bodies can go where might be the central question of our century.’

Karan Mahajan | Is Travel Writing Dead?

Karan Mahajan

‘Too often, a kind of travel writing – especially the novel set abroad in an exotic locale – feels like a way of allegorizing and escaping problems at home.’

Robert Macfarlane | Is Travel Writing Dead?

Robert Macfarlane

‘The best writers rose to the challenge by seeking not originality of destination, but originality of form.’

Higher Ground

Carl De Keyzer

‘These photographs capture that fatal boredom in the face of this slow-motion catastrophe.’

Hoa Nguyen | Is Travel Writing Dead?

Hoa Nguyen

‘I didn’t have the language for why I could not be a tourist in the same way as my white counterparts.’

A Land Without Strangers

Ben Mauk

Ben Mauk on nationalism and xenophobia in Poland.

Best Book of 1818: The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr, by E.T.A. Hoffmann

Luke Neima

‘What sets Hoffmann’s work apart is the meeting of the joint impulses of Enlightenment and Romantic thought’

Best Book of 2016: Joanne Kyger’s On Time

Hoa Nguyen

Hoa Nguyen on why Joanne Kyger’s On Time is the best book of 2016.

Best Book of 2015: Thus Were Their Faces by Silvina Ocampo

Valerie Miles

‘Time is a rubber band, and in a single sentence, ghosts and alternative worlds superimpose’

Best Book of 1955: The Magician’s Nephew

Josie Mitchell

‘Much like Tolkien’s, admittedly vaster, legendarium, Lewis’s world is exquisitely conceived.’

Best Book of 1900: The Autobiography of Dr William Henry Johnson

Jennifer Kabat

‘Johnson is now a ghost of history; he doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page, but I can’t let him disappear.’

Best Book of 2000: The Last Samurai by Helen DeWitt

Anne Meadows

‘It is the novel I have read which best expresses the honest and sad truth of art: that it is often produced in precarity and performed in near silence, but that it can also redeem a life.’

Best Book of 1941: Consider the Oyster by M.F.K. Fisher

Harriet Moore

‘This book is about yearning for the Sunday nights of childhood, or dreams; it is a meditation on hunger in all its forms.’

Best book of 1983: The Piano Teacher by Elfriede Jelinek

Sophie Mackintosh

‘After 2016 I’m done with sentimentality, and it’s hard to think of a less sentimental book than The Piano Teacher, objectively a masterpiece, subjectively a book that changed my life.’

Best book of 1964: Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr

Lisa McInerney

‘In days of such human cruelty and pettiness and stupidity, we need reminding that we are all capable of savage compassion as well as the contagion of hatred.’

Best Book of 1965: Everything That Rises Must Converge

April Ayers Lawson

‘O’Conner has for me the effect of nailing and then blowing up one’s most casual illusions’

The Fairytale

Jennifer Kabat

‘In Hollin Hills, we believed our flatware could change the world.’ Jennifer Kabat on the intersection of modernist architecture and espionage.

All that Offers a Happy Ending Is a Fairy Tale

Yiyun Li

‘If you were like me, you would know the obsession of the compulsive reader: every street sign; every bottle label’

Mother and Father

Thomas Kilroy

‘Like most wars, this was a war of the young.’ Thomas Kilroy on his parents’ experience of the Anglo-Irish War and the Irish civil war.

Shifting Ground

Una Mullally

‘Living in the only democratic country in the world with a constitutional ban on abortion, I felt an acute and visceral shame.’