Explore essays and memoir
Desire | State of Mind
‘My burgeoning sense of my own attractiveness, so fragile and recently developed, withered in this less than fertile ground.’
We are living through a period of pop-up populism, where each political movement redefines ‘the Many’ and ‘the People’, where we are always reconsidering who counts as an ‘insider’ or an ‘outsider’, where what it means to belong is never certain.
Nothing to be afraid of | State of Mind
‘Life in the first person is both magical and terrifying. But it is circumscribed.’ Anil K. Seth on the ties between our brains, bodies and consciousness.
‘What’s in a state of mind? How do we describe emotions, or the complex relationship between individuals and the state?’
Coming Home to the Counter-Revolution
‘My Cairo is an inverted city, one that wears its innards above the skin.’
Gay and Depressed | State of Mind
‘It would be a bit more tolerable if we lived in a society that didn’t blame depression on its victims.’
Brother | State of Mind
‘We don’t often talk seriously or in depth about our childhood these days, but we know we could, and we know what good it did us.’
Marcel Proust’s letters to his neighbour, translated from the French by Lydia Davis.
The Peripatetic Penelope Fitzgerald
Lucy Scholes on the highs, lows and package tours of Booker-prize-winning author Penelope Fitzgerald. ‘Fitzgerald’s life can only be attributed to the caprices of fate.’
Dead in Venice
‘If I wasn’t a fish spawned in the Brenta river, why was I so compelled to keep returning?’ Masahiko Shimada on his many trips to Venice.
Brontez Purnell Is Everything
Novelist, zinester, dancer, go-go-boy, punk, filmmaker, actor, performer, Brontez Purnell is everything.
The Tamarind is Always Sour
‘By law, the more than one million Rohingya in Myanmar are almost all excluded from Myanmar citizenship, making them the largest stateless group in the world.’
Remembering Denis Johnson
When people ask me what Denis was like, I always think about how he listened far more intently than just about any writer I’d ever met.
Any Idiot Can Write a Book
A production company is looking for contestants to participate in a new TV show, modelled on The Apprentice. They are seeking unpublished writers who have completed a novel.
Cats Explain Things to Me | Discoveries
Take a paws from your busy day for this week’s Discoveries – guest edited by Granta’s very own Typo the cat.
Wendell Steavenson | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘Our globalised world of easyJet and Google Translate does not seem to have fostered any greater understanding’
‘Writing about other people doesn’t have to be an exercise of power or a theft of identity.’
Samanth Subramanian | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘The first time I ever visited a place I’d read about in a travel book was when my family took a holiday in Hong Kong in 1993.’
Colin Thubron | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘The death of travel – and of the travel book – has been predicted for almost a century.’
‘Apartheid had marked him, as it has marked all of us, in different ways. It made me hyper-aware of colour.’
‘The push and pull of identity politics is the child of slavery and empire.’ Ben Rawlence on empire and the construction of white identity.
The False Lords of Misrule
Peter Pomerantsev takes us on a tour of the lewd, crude language of modern politics – from Trump to Putin to Duterte, Milo Yianopoulos, Boris Johnson and more.
Best Book of 1950: A Natural History of Trees by Donald Culross Peattie
‘Now more than ever environmentalists need to remember what it’s like to write for that real world.’
Best Book of 1868: Dostoevsky’s The Idiot
‘The beauty of The Idiot lies in its opposition to closed systems.’
When the World Became White by Dalia Betolin-Sherman | Best Book of 2013
‘New poetic expressions can still emerge and evolve in Hebrew – an ancient and almost prehistoric language, with its grumbling sound’
Best Book of 2008: Atmospheric Disturbances by Rivka Galchen
‘Rivka Galchen’s debut novel is one of my favourites from the last few years.’
Best Book of 1994: The Land of Green Plums by Herta Müller
‘You'd have to have lived through that bleakness. You'd have to know with your body, your hands, your eyes, your mouth, the weight of that fear – how it’s not strictly describable.’
Best Book of 1970: Moominvalley in November
‘This is a book I always return to for its melancholy tone, warm humour and psychological insight.’
High Fidelity by Nick Hornby: Best Book of 1995
‘It was a story about music and relationships.’
The Cult of the Hindu Cowboy
‘The Hindu cowboy accords to the cow the holiest status in his imagination: of mother. It is his duty to protect her honour; it is his privilege to kill for her.’