Explore essays and memoir
'I didn't start out a writer, and had no plans of becoming one.' Tatyana Tolstaya, translated from the Russian by Anya Migdal
The Royal African Society takes a look back at the history of the Africa Writes festival, their annual celebration of contemporary literature from Africa and the diaspora.
All the Devils Are Here
‘A seaside shelter in the middle of autumn – it seems a strange choice.’
Best Book of 1935: Junichiro Tanizaki’s The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi
Naben Ruthnum on the best book of 1935: Junichiro Tanizaki's The Secret History of the Lord of Musashi.
Best Book of 1947: Call Me Ishmael by Charles Olson
Chris Power on the Best Book of 1947: Call Me Ishmael by Charles Olson.
Best Book of 1949: The Thief’s Journal
‘To read it is to feel the alternative tempo in the rude repetitions of the thief who loves to steal.’
Best Book of 1966: Season of Migration to the North
‘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.’
‘Europe awoke to a freezing post-war dawn. The winter of 1947 was the worst ever recorded.’
Fred Pearce | Notes on Craft
‘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.’
In the Valley of Coachella
Novelist Susan Straight and photographer Douglas McCulloh on the presidential streets of the ‘real’ Coachella
Editor and publisher Sigrid Rausing introduces Granta 144: genericlovestory.
Kathryn Scanlan | Notes on Craft
‘I try to write a sentence as unbudging and fully itself as some object sitting on a shelf in my office.’
‘Last year father attacked me as a “wet radish”. This caused me to give up writing diary entries.’
Murasaki’s Paper Trail
Martin Puchner on how Murasaki Shikibu, a lady-in-waiting at the Japanese court, manage to write the first great novel of world literature.
Paul Dalla Rosa | Notes on Craft
‘I feel like I’m haunting an empty building, inert, waiting for each room to burst into flames.’
Pay for Your Words
Peter Pomerantsev downloads his Facebook data. ‘We seem to be caught in a trap: the more we use a word, the more we will be charged for it.’
Souvankham Thammavongsa | Notes on Craft
‘When I look at a word, I can see the thing inside it. The ear inside heart.’
The Best Book of 1943: Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles
Kathryn Scanlan on the best book of 1943: Two Serious Ladies by Jane Bowles.
The Canvas Bag
‘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.’
The Editor’s Chair: On Svetlana Alexievich
‘It is clear when reading Svetlana Alexievich that she has a deep empathy for the characters whose stories she tells.’
The Man Who Lived
Snigdha Poonam on how WhatsApp is being used to encourage mob violence in India.
The Trickster Creates the World
'A Q&A session exploring the writing process with novelist Eden Robinson, her muse Marvin and myself, Fictional Eden Robinson'
‘A man-eating tiger was on the prowl when I arrived in Pilibhit one rainy evening in September.’
What Silence Knows
‘Words can’t quite re-create the smell of war. I have found myself trying to wash it out of my hair, off my fingers. More than once, I have run water over the soles of my shoes.’