Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

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How to Write about Africa

Binyavanga Wainaina

‘Always end your book with Nelson Mandela saying something about rainbows or renaissances. Because you care.’

One Day I Will Write About This Place

Binyavanga Wainaina

‘We are, it seems, in the middle of nowhere.’

Frank’s Place

Richard Williams

‘Marilyn Monroe spent a couple of nights at the Cal-Neva. Sinatra knew she was in a bad way.’

Letter from Wyoming

Brad Watson

‘Before I moved to Wyoming in 2005, I was – like a lot of people outside this region, it turns out – not quite sure just where it was.’

Bulletproof Vest

Maria Venegas

‘Maybe you should consider moving’

Arithmetic on the Frontier

Declan Walsh

‘These days the tempest of Taliban violence ripping across the frontier has shaken Peshawar to its core.’

Persian Love

Alan Warner

‘It is 6:22 of what beauty and life's joy there is to extract’

Woman’s Body: An Owner’s Manual

Evie Wyld

‘In the year before my first period, my mother gives me a book called Woman’s Body, An Owner’s Manual.’

Self-Consciousness: Memoirs by John Updike

Edmund White

‘The freedom conferred by masks. Children and current wives cannot blame you for what your characters do and say.’

Joburg

Ivan Vladislavić

‘When a house has been alarmed, it becomes explosive.’

Wrestling with Translation

Jeffrey Yang

‘As I embarked on my adventure I immediately started to feel that old hatred for simplified Chinese characters.’

The Case Against Babies

Joy Williams

‘Babies, babies, babies. There’s a plague of babies.’

Barrenland

A Yi

‘I no longer feared that she would entrap me; my heart would not soften.’

In Gikuyu, for Gikuyu, of Gikuyu

Binyavanga Wainaina

‘My first name, Binyavanga, has always been a sort of barometer of public mood.’

Searching for Pavese

Alejandro Zambra

‘Something’s gone awry with this article. My intention was to remember, in his birthplace, a writer I admire, and it’s clear that my admiration has waned.’

Liberation Day

Christa Wolf

‘The world stubbornly refused to end and we were not prepared to cope with a world that refused to end.’

Notes from New York

James Wolcott

‘Now and then it can appear that an entire magazine is opening up the silks, searching for a soft place to land.’

The Aesthetics of Resistance

Peter Weiss

‘His whole life, he had declared while still at work on this painting, was nothing less than a continual struggle against the backwardness of thought and the killing of art.’

Stevenage

Gary Younge

‘In 1988 my mother took the bus to Stevenage town centre to do the weekly shop, came home and died in her sleep.’

Pariah

Viramma

‘All my children have been buried where they died’

Zagreb

Dubravka Ugrešić

‘‘We’ll print your book if you bring us 140 kilos of paper,’ says my friend, a publisher. ‘Where can I find 140 kilos of paper?’ ‘I don’t know. That’s your problem, you’re the writer.’’

Saigon Dreaming

Tela Zasloff

‘In the summer of 1964, when we arrived in Saigon, our house belonged to the United States military, whose cheerful Vietnamese employees moved us in.’

One Ridge Over

Josh Weil

‘Some mornings I see him coming up through the mist. The grey shape of a long-haired man carrying a long-barreled gun amid the bare grey branches of the old apple trees.’

The Merry Widow

Edmund White

’She met my father in Texas and then they moved north, where I was born in Cincinnati.‘

Home: Peckham

Evie Wyld

‘Peckham is the place of my adolescence, my first cobbled together attempts at dressing myself from the charity shops on Rye Lane.’

Diego Garcia

Simon Winchester

‘How do you persuade a thousand dogs to walk into a fire? How do you persuade them, as it were, to commit suttee?’.

The One True God, Allah

Richard Watson

‘This is the story of the British jihad.’

Cricket in Samoa

Gavin Young

‘Balls flew towards the beach or into dense jungle. Enthusiastic young fielders tumbled head over heels in the morning glories. Village elders, large, heavy-breasted, critical men, lay in the shade on cushions discussing the course of play like contented sea lions on their favourite rocks.’

We Went to Saigon

Tia Wallman

‘I thought that this must be the sort of plane that crashes. What were a few more dead, travelling to the city of the dead?’

Field Burning

William Wharton

‘I thought after what had happened to us in the past twenty-four hours I’d never be scared to die again, but I am.’

The Metaphoreign Body

Tod Wodicka

‘Finally, I was reduced to a piece of matter, solid and real and mute and totally absorbed inside a foreign system.’

Getting The Words Out

John Updike

‘No, it is not confrontation but some wish to avoid it, some hasty wish to please, that betrays my flow of speech.’

Body Snatchers

William T. Vollmann

‘The All-American Canal was now dark black with phosphorescent streaks where the border’s eyes stained it with yellow tears.’

All I Know About Gertrude Stein

Jeanette Winterson

‘The more I love you, the more I feel alone.’

Jihad Redux

Declan Walsh

‘American patience snapped, and Washington took matters into its own hands.’

Soundings

Abraham Verghese

‘On the first day of June, 1972, I was taught how to percuss the body.’