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Self-Made Man

Mark Gevisser

Mark Gevisser examines the personal, political and social issues of transgender identity in America.

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.’

Scavengers

Adam Johnson

‘I was dying to buy something, anything that would help my wife and children understand the profound surrealism and warped reality I’d experienced on my research trip to North Korea.’

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.’

The Magic Box

Olivia Laing

‘It never gets dark in Times Square. Sometimes I’d wake at two or three or four and watch waves of neon pass through my room.’ An essay on David Wojnarowicz's work, life and archives.

When Did I Become a Writer?

Mia Couto

‘I am often asked when I became a writer, and I have taken to not rushing my answer.’

Ann Beattie | First Sentence

Ann Beattie

‘Several times I’ve wanted to title something one thing, but have realized or been persuaded it isn’t a good idea.’

Ventimiglia

Joanna Walsh

‘Love is constant revolution, pure disruption, it can never be stilled.’

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.

Please Tim Tickle Lana

Colin McAdam

‘I no longer see human beings as I used to.’

Maruti 800

Rana Dasgupta

‘Like a tiny old woman surrounded by strapping grandsons, the Maruti 800 was in fact the progenitor of all that new, muscular, vehicular variety.’

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 Making of a Writer

Kent Haruf

‘I learned to live completely inwardly in those years.’

Be Careful with that Fan

Andre Perry

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

Thing with Feathers that Perches in the Soul

Anthony Doerr

‘It has to be love, doesn’t it? In however many of its infinite permutations?’

Living Goddess

Isabella Tree

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

My Chess Teacher

Ricardo Lísias

‘The environment, however, wasn’t a hostile one. Though it was filled with the strangest guys in town, they were only there to play.’

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’.

Foreigners

Daniel Gascón

‘It would’ve been a magical moment if my neighbours hadn’t started fucking at that very second.’

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.’

The Emily Dickinson Series

Janet Malcolm

The Emily Dickinson Series is a collection of collages by Janet Malcolm that appear in Granta 126: do you remember.

Blue Moon

Hiromi Kawakami

‘Rather than death itself, it is the disappearance of traces that seems unbearable and sad. The disappearance of all signs that I existed.’

Sasayama

Nadifa Mohamed

‘It was in one of those listless summers after graduation that I found myself in the small Japanese town of Sasayama.’

My Avant-Garde Education

Bernard Cooper

‘My response to art was quick, metabolic and revelatory, while my response to sex was a muddle of delayed reactions and missed libidinal signals.’

The Casualties

Katie Kitamura

‘The following are some of the Japanese players who also appeared in the major leagues during the Age of Ichiro.’

Heart and Soul in Every Stitch

Tash Aw

‘Where wealth and technology go, culture quickly follows, and soon it became acceptable, even desirable, to express an interest in Japan beyond the mere practicality offered by its products.’

Cynthia Ozick | First Sentence

Cynthia Ozick

‘Some stories begin with an incident, or a set of enigmatic circumstances, or a scene indelibly witnessed, or the relationship of unlike temperaments, or even something as gossamer as a mood. And then there is the kind of story that is rooted in an idea.’

The Abyss

Rebekah Frumkin

‘I came home this past fall to the Chicago suburb where I’d lived with my parents from age nine until I left for college in 2008, and I moved back into my childhood bedroom.’

A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me

David Gates

‘It took longer and longer for the next one to come, and then there wasn’t a next one.’

Aracelis Girmay | First Sentence

Aracelis Girmay

‘For me, it happens most with early 90s R&B.’

L.A. Diary: Notes from a Mexikorean Country

Juan Pablo Villalobos

‘I was reassured to see that my hotel does not resemble the one in The Shining.’

Arrival Gates

Rebecca Solnit

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

Nudity

Norman Rush

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