Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

Explore essays and memoir

Filter

Key Stroke

Will Self

Striking the keys of the same typewriter that once sat under J.G. Ballard’s fingers, Will Self reimagines the legendary writer’s last days.

A Place on Earth: Scenes from a War

Anjan Sundaram

Dense forest and formless roads lead Sundaram to the most recent sites of conflict, burnt-out villages where pigs have taken over their former owner’s homes in an ‘inversion of man and beast, of civilization and nature’.

Tourist

Andrea Stuart

‘My curiosity about lesbianism was an accomplice of my feminism: a path that allowed me to be sexual and free.’

Living Goddess

Isabella Tree

‘I longed to know what she was thinking, what she did all day when she wasn’t performing rituals.’

Frankenstein’s Mother

Darcey Steinke

‘If pain is what makes others real to us, there was not another human being more real to me than my mother.’

Mona Simpson | First Sentence

Mona Simpson

‘A year later, still in third person, I’d taken five days off my character’s long wait. I’d moved to present tense, though, for more immediacy.’

The Fighters

David Treuer

‘When he stepped into the cage he was doing battle with a disease. The disease was the feeling of powerlessness that takes hold of even the most powerful.’

A Confession

Jess Row

‘I walk out of the theatre in a daze. I’ve glimpsed something. But a glimpse, as it turns out, is not enough.’

Be Careful with that Fan

Andre Perry

‘I was stuck in Texas for a month. The days passed like slow-motion films.

The Ambivalent

Paulo Scott

‘He not only sees the World Cup as a ceasefire, but also as a series of sleights of hand that hide what’s really going on, political debauchery, spin and chicanery.’

Arrival Gates

Rebecca Solnit

‘It was like trying to go back to before the earthquake, to before knowledge.’

Teenage Wastelands

Jim Ruland

‘It took me seven years of marriage to figure out that my wife is a hardcore Pearl Jam fan.’

The Defeated

Jonny Steinberg

‘Peter Mitchell died on a frontier, not so much between black and white, or between the landed and the landless, as between the past and the future.’

Nudity

Norman Rush

‘I nursed a precocious rage at the stratagems society was employing to keep me from seeing naked women.’

João’s War

Julia Rochester

‘He repeatedly said, “I should have been a priest.“ He was right. People sought his benediction.’

After Silk Road

Mike Power

‘The Dark Web is a shadow internet, an unindexed, unseen and lawless corner of cyberspace.’

Teachers

Sandy Tolan

‘They came from Europe, Palestine and America, drawn by the story of Ramzi and Al Kamandjâti, by the young traveller’s spirit of adventure, and by the desire to use their musical talents for work that could make a difference in the world.’

A Brief History of a Musical Failure

Catherine Tice

‘At the end of the piece, there was silence, followed by a sudden thunder of feet and bows on the stands. A thrilling noise.’

Lullaby

Mary Ruefle

‘I wasn’t bored, I was relaxed, and, I suppose, happy (I’ve never been able to figure out how happiness feels).’

David Searcy | First Sentence

David Searcy

‘When I was a kid, my family doctor, right through high school, was this wonderful, funny guy with a little Boston Blackie moustache who looked a lot like Burgess Meredith.’

Miroslav Penkov | First Sentence

Miroslav Penkov

‘It was an old woman’s racism that inspired the first line of ‘Blood Money’.’

The Hudson River School

David Searcy

‘The coyote skull is on the table.’

Ross Raisin | On Tour

Ross Raisin

‘I was up at 5.30 this morning, to screaming, and it’s afternoon now and I’m covered in hummus and struggling to muster the energy to remove it from myself.’

Dutch Harbor Nights

Jim Ruland

‘When one of the fishermen starts belting out ‘All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Out Tonight’, it feels like a prophecy come to life.’

How to be Gay and Indian

Manil Suri

‘This was supposed to be my great in-your-face coming-out campaign, which I’d fretted over for months beforehand. Had India suddenly lost its conservativeness, turned enlightened, even hip?’

Playing the Odds

David Szalay

‘What, I wonder now, must the texture of my life have been like then, that winning those sort of sums failed to leave even the slightest mark on my memory?’

Rachel Seiffert on Naomi Alderman

Rachel Seiffert

‘So, to summarise: witty, bold, and delicate too. Oh yes, and supremely able to turn a story.’

Taiye Selasi | My Writing Playlist

Taiye Selasi

Taiye Selasi, one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists, shares a playlist of songs to write to.

Zadie Smith on ‘Just Right’

Zadie Smith

‘There should be a special term for abandoned stories, and another for the strange limbo in which their occupants live.’

Salman Rushdie on Sunjeev Sahota

Salman Rushdie

‘You open a book by a writer you’ve never heard of and a new voice leaps off the page and makes you listen.’

From the Past Comes the Storms

Andrés Felipe Solano

‘During the hottest months, the thermometer settles in at 100 degrees like a nonagenarian in a rocker – no one can make it move.’

Sugar in the Blood

Andrea Stuart

‘I understood that migration was a kind of death, in which one’s old self must be buried in order for a new self to be born.’

Introducing J.P. Cuenca

Andrés Felipe Solano

‘From the future, Cuenca narrates Rio’s collapse and the personal fall of the main character. He does it with the elegant distance of a data collector but also with the terrifying certainty of one who knows there’s no going back.’