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
A Few Words about Fake Breasts
‘You repeat this over and over. You pinch your nipples harder. Then harder and harder still. You twist them. You dare them to say Mercy. You stare into your own eyes that are watching you from the mirror.’
A Mischief of Rats
‘They slept curled together in a hammock, little scraps of fur, hearts beating madly.’ Joanna Kavenna on her pet rats, Kat Bjelland and Courtney Love.
A Not-So-Pretty History of Pet Care
‘One day after the next I would figure out what was needed, learn from my mistakes, pay attention to what worked.’
A Summer of Japanese Literature
From manga to crime fiction, contemporary literature to Nobel-Prize-winning classics, here are ten works of Japanese literature worth spending your summer on
Above the Tree Line
Teva Harrison visits and illustrates the Northwest Passage through the Canadian arctic for Granta 141: Canada
‘Silence allows me to pretend that this happened to someone else a long time ago, and not to me.’
Abuse, Silence, and the Light That Virginia Woolf Switched On
When Virginia Woolf was thirteen, she was abused by her half-brother George Duckworth. No one believed her - not even her biographers. April Ayers Lawson on Woolf's abuse, and her own.
Addressing Mental Health Through Reading Well
‘Reading Well is more than just a booklist – it represents the power of reading to change lives.’
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.
‘I again told him I wasn’t ready to have sex, and his only response was to lean in and kiss me. The hallway in which we walked seemed to be shrinking, closing in on us.’ – April Ayers Lawson on intimacy after sexual abuse.
All the Devils Are Here
‘A seaside shelter in the middle of autumn – it seems a strange choice.’
‘I would peel wrappers off sandwiches, remove noodles from their boxes, fry up meat before any authorities had the chance to track me and my bounty down.’
‘The title of this series of photographs is Animal Studies, but I am not sure about that second word. A noun or a verb? A thing or an action? Are these studies of animals or are these animals studying?’ Alexander MacLeod introduces the photography of Elliot Ross.
Best Book of 1996: The Lost Lunar Baedeker
‘Mina Loy has been a preferred voice in my head, echoing with a signature delirious chant as a kind of primordial poetry mother.’
Breasts: A History
‘My breasts are shrinking. As my fat redistributes it settles in my belly and leaves my chest.’
‘These bored, frustrated and hungry animals appear as reluctant figures in some unsolvable puzzle, or as victims of a grand experiment whose original purpose is lost in time.’
Carys Davies | Notes on Craft
‘All good stories are both resonant and concrete; they live in the mind of the reader and reverberate beyond the pages of the book.’
An excerpt from Matt Young's memoir Eat The Apple, which explores his three deployments to Iraq as a member of the US Marine Corps.
Climb the Mountains
'Harm that comes through the hands of those we love must be wrestled with; it does not simply disappear.'
‘I’m nervous at night when I take off my leg. I wait until the last moment before sleep to un-tech because I am a woman who lives alone’
Cormac James | Notes on Craft
‘My most recent writing lesson came from Elizabeth Strout, a few months ago. Pay attention, is all she taught me, and it was plenty.’
‘One by one they’re led into the box. They swear their oath. They confirm their name, their employment, why they were where they say they were, what it was they saw.’
Cumbrian Fell Pony
Sarah Hall writes about the Cumbrian fell pony for Granta 142: Animalia.
Danny Denton | Notes on Craft
‘My tuppence on craft is this: as a writer, you must give your reader space to experience the world of your story (whatever form it takes)’
‘More than once the new dog was aggressive, a stab of fire, but I did not tell the grown-ups. I feared they would take him away.’
Equal Recognition | Discoveries
In an article for the LA Review of Books, Deborah Smith discusses the politics of literary translation and the backlash she received after winning the Man Booker International Prize.
‘Didn’t we remember lyrics fine before we had the internet in our pockets?’ Danny Denton on the lost art of sing-songing.
Five are the fingers, and five are the sins
Rebecca Watson on the life of the man who prototyped fascism, the Italian writer Gabriele D’Annunzio