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Jianan Qian | First Sentence

Jianan Qian

‘For every witness, history unfolded at some other time, and in some other place.’ Jianan Qian on the first sentence of her story, ‘To the Dogs’.

The Emperor of Ice Cream

Rebecca Tamás

‘Death is terrifying and impossibly big, but life is even bigger – vulgar, relentless, ruthless.’

Lemons in Winter

Mika Taylor

‘I wonder why I am always the last to let go. I wonder if there is any amount that will ever be enough.’

Going Home

Raja Shehadeh

Read an excerpt from Raja Shehadeh’s Going Home, a reflection on ageing, failure, the occupation, and the changing face of Ramallah.

Night on Fire

Darcey Steinke

‘I know what’s going to happen and I know that it’s going to be bizarre.’

Surrender

Joanna Pocock

‘How could having sex with the Earth ever be consensual?’

Distributed Denial of Service

Merritt Tierce

‘Once you learn to seal the shell, to make it watertight, you can let anything roil around in there.’

Binyavanga Wainaina

Sigrid Rausing

Granta’s editor Sigrid Rausing remembers Binyavanga Wainaina.

How I Write My Books

Anne Serre

Anne Serre on how she writes. Translated from the French by Mark Hutchinson.

Pajtim Statovci | Notes on Craft

Pajtim Statovci

‘My childhood was pierced not only by the violence in Kosovo but also by the violence my immigrant family was confronted with in Finland.’

Introduction

Sigrid Rausing

Editor Sigrid Rausing introduces Granta 147: 40th-Birthday Special.

His Roth

Philip Roth

‘I naively believed as a child that I would always have a father present, and the truth seems to be that I always will.’

Self-Consciousness

Edward W. Said

‘It was through my mother that I grew more aware of my body as incredibly fraught and problematic.‘

The Power of a Name

Rebecca Tamás

‘When English is the dominant everything, you can’t help wanting to fight for the little speck of the rest of your self.’

Fires

James Pogue

‘In 2018 in northern California, 21,000 homes burned.’

Dinah

Barbara Smith

Barbara Smith remembers her friend and cousin, Diana Athill.

The Nine Circles

Margo Rejmer

‘The body wants to escape suffering at all costs. The body wants to live.’

Touch

Poppy Sebag-Montefiore

‘Touch had its own language, and the rules were the opposite of the ones I knew at home.’

Feeling Southern: A Patagonian Story

Fabián Martínez Siccardi

‘I was harbouring a southern feeling, a deep connection with the South of this real world, where I was born and will probably die.’

Normalnost

Peter Pomerantsev

‘Is there another way to look at the Russianisation of reality?’

First Course

Zoe Tennant

‘Indigenous chefs will tell you that their dishes are Indigenous, not Canadian. With the plate, these chefs demonstrate that the food is the land, and that the land is still theirs.’ Zoe Tennant on Indigenous cuisines.

When We Returned to Pakistan

Bina Shah

Bina Shah on growing up in Pakistan. ‘Culture shock was what they called it in those days, but to me it felt like a kidnapping.’

Her Left Hand, The Darkness

Alison Smith

Alison Smith on the week she spent with Ursula K. Le Guin.

Best Book of 1949: The Thief’s Journal

Holly Pester

‘To read it is to feel the alternative tempo in the rude repetitions of the thief who loves to steal.’

The Best Book of 1943: Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles

Kathryn Scanlan

Kathryn Scanlan on the best book of 1943: Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles.

Best Book of 1966: Season of Migration to the North

Ayşegül Savaş

‘Of course, literature cannot be separated from its flesh of language and form. Nor can its tangible subject explain why it moves its reader, through the subtleties of language, or the shadowy geographies that it leaves to the imagination.’

Best Book of 1947: Call Me Ishmael by Charles Olson

Chris Power

Chris Power on the Best Book of 1947: Call Me Ishmael by Charles Olson.

Best Book of 1935: Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi

Naben Ruthnum

Naben Ruthnum on the best book of 1935: Junichiro Tanizaki's The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi.

Why Should You Be One Too?

Spencer Reece

Spencer Reece on alcoholism, homosexuality, and the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop.

Kathryn Scanlan | Notes on Craft

Kathryn Scanlan

‘I try to write a sentence as unbudging and fully itself as some object sitting on a shelf in my office.’

Introduction

Sigrid Rausing

Editor Sigrid Rausing introduces Granta 145: Ghosts.

The Canvas Bag

Inigo Thomas

‘It was given to her by her Japanese captors after the Fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942 to pack the few possessions she was allowed to take with her to prison.’

Paul Dalla Rosa | Notes on Craft

Paul Dalla Rosa

‘I feel like I’m haunting an empty building, inert, waiting for each room to burst into flames.’

Murasaki’s Paper Trail

Martin Puchner

Martin Puchner on how Murasaki Shikibu, a lady-in-waiting at the Japanese court, manage to write the first great novel of world literature.

Fred Pearce | Notes on Craft

Fred Pearce

‘For a hack like me, book-length meta-journalism is both a luxury and a challenge. I cannot hide my own views over 100,000 words, even if I want to.’

Introduction

Sigrid Rausing

Editor and publisher Sigrid Rausing introduces Granta 144: genericlovestory.