Explore essays and memoir
A Mingling | State of Mind
‘My empathy may become a vehicle of insight for me and therefore help me to help you or it may debilitate me altogether, make me so sad I am no good to you whatsoever.’
Against the Dying of the Light | Discoveries
We celebrate some of the remarkable people who died in 2016
Alexis Wright | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘In my imagination I have been to many villages and cities in the world.’
All That Was Familiar
The story of two women fleeing Boko Haram in north-east Nigeria.
Amit Chaudhuri | First Sentence
‘A scene in which nothing is ostensibly happening will absorb me; so will a paragraph that contains no vital piece of information.’
Among the Citizen Soldiers
Karan Mahajan visits Lexington, Virginia – a centre of the Confederary – in the wake of the far-right rally in Charlottesville.
An Island Presence
‘I can almost believe in the permanence of these warm days, this unchanging child whose hand fits mine. But I can feel the cold and the darkness coming.’
Anosh Irani | Notes on Craft
‘The interiority that we keep speaking of in fiction is built on pain’
Any Idiot Can Write a Book
A production company is looking for contestants to participate in a new TV show, modelled on The Apprentice. They are seeking unpublished writers who have completed a novel.
Battle of the Booker: Meet the Shortlist
The fight-to-the-literary-death that is the Man Booker continues – six authors remain in the race.
Best Book of 1818: The Life and Opinions of the Tomcat Murr, by E.T.A. Hoffmann
‘What sets Hoffmann’s work apart is the meeting of the joint impulses of Enlightenment and Romantic thought’
Best book of 1936: Locos
Ingrid Persaud on why Felipe Alfau’s Locos is the best book of 1936.
Best Book of 1969: Pricksongs & Descants
Lisa Taddeo on why Robert Coover’s Pricksongs & Descants is the best book of 1969.
Best Book of 1990: Anecdotes of Modern Art
‘If I tell you a book is an encyclopedic and fast-paced tour of the interrelationship of making art and being in pain, need I say more?’
Between Great Fires
‘This is the perennial anxiety – that at any moment, day or night, you might be snatched and shackled and tried and sent back.’
‘It was my child’s outlook to think most things were right. And yet if life’s eternal drama is of events seeking a more perfect state, their life and mine was not that.’
Books Do Furnish a Room
‘The shelves say something about the person who has stocked them; they say much.’
Brontez Purnell Is Everything
Novelist, zinester, dancer, go-go-boy, punk, filmmaker, actor, performer, Brontez Purnell is everything.
Brother | State of Mind
‘We don’t often talk seriously or in depth about our childhood these days, but we know we could, and we know what good it did us.’
Cats Explain Things to Me | Discoveries
Take a paws from your busy day for this week’s Discoveries – guest edited by Granta’s very own Typo the cat.
Marcel Proust’s letters to his neighbour, translated from the French by Lydia Davis.
Political resistance, poetry, self-revelation all spring from that provocative, impish drive to burst free from external constraints.
Colin Thubron | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘The death of travel – and of the travel book – has been predicted for almost a century.’
Erika Krouse on her work as a private investigator. ‘An escort service was providing prostitutes for football recruits, directly solicited by the university.’
Coming Home to the Counter-Revolution
‘My Cairo is an inverted city, one that wears its innards above the skin.’
Carys Davies on how the settlement of the American West can help us understand Donald Trump’s nativism.
Cyclical Wisdom | Discoveries
A mash-up of Elif Batuman | Oscar Wilde | David Lynch | Marilynn Robinson | Margaret Atwood | and Viet Thanh Nguyen
‘The idea that football might provide an opportunity to overcome our dumber instincts seemed ridiculous now: football was a chance to set our idiocy free.’
‘Did she process my gentle hand in the same way as the objectifying touch of the men before me? Did she know the difference?’
Dead in Venice
‘If I wasn’t a fish spawned in the Brenta river, why was I so compelled to keep returning?’ Masahiko Shimada on his many trips to Venice.
Desire | State of Mind
‘My burgeoning sense of my own attractiveness, so fragile and recently developed, withered in this less than fertile ground.’
Doubling and Redoubling | Discoveries
Photographs, e-fiction and daylight saving time. Our favourite pieces published elsewhere this week.
Écrire Avec Facultés Affaiblies
Comme il a grandi, j’ai pensé, puis j’ai passé la débarbouillette sous l’eau tiède du lavabo de la salle de bain.