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The Ungrateful Refugee

Dina Nayeri

‘I was born in 1979, a year of revolution, and grew up in wartime.’ Dina Nayeri on growing up in the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Binyavanga Wainaina

Sigrid Rausing

Granta's editor Sigrid Rausing remembers Binyavanga Wainaina.

How I Write My Books

Anne Serre

Anne Serre on how she writes. Translated from the French by Mark Hutchinson.

Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness

Zanele Muholi & Anne McNeill

‘Zanele Muholi is a photographer, often described as one of the most powerful visual activists of our time, and a long-time advocate for their black LGBTQ+ community.’

To Zinder

Sven Lindqvist

Obsessed with a single line from Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness – Kurtz’s injunction to ‘Exterminate All the Brutes’ – Sven Lindqvist set out across Central Africa, and wrote a book that revealed precisely what Europe’s imperial powers had exacted on Africa’s people over the course of the preceding two centuries.

Pajtim Statovci | Notes on Craft

Pajtim Statovci

‘My childhood was pierced not only by the violence in Kosovo but also by the violence my immigrant family was confronted with in Finland.’

Introduction

Sigrid Rausing

Editor Sigrid Rausing introduces Granta 147: 40th-Birthday Special.

A Coup

Bruce Chatwin

‘You do not understand. In this country one understands nothing.’

The Fall of Saigon

James Fenton

‘I wanted to see a communist victory, which I presumed to be inevitable. I wanted to see the fall of a city.’

Tadpoles

Primo Levi

‘It was a harsh and brutal puberty: the tiny creatures began to fret, as if an inner sense had forewarned them of the torment in store’

The Imam and the Indian

Amitav Ghosh

‘We were both travelling, he and I: we were travelling in the West. The only difference was that I had actually been there, in person.’

His Roth

Philip Roth

‘I naively believed as a child that I would always have a father present, and the truth seems to be that I always will.’

Glitches

John Gregory Dunne

‘I prefer not to speculate about what might have happened if I had not taken the ECG.’

The Snow in Ghana

Ryszard Kapuściński

‘We always carry it to foreign countries, all over the world, our pride and our powerlessness.’ Translated from the Polish by William Brand.

The Zoo in Basel

John Berger

‘To create is to let take over something which did not exist before and is therefore new.’

Dreams for Hire

Gabriel García Márquez

‘The wave had erupted with such force that it obliterated the glass lobby.‘ Translated from the Spanish by Nick Caistor.

Editorial

Bill Buford

Bill Buford on his decision to resign as editor of this magazine, which he relaunched in its present form in 1979.

Where is Kigali?

Lindsey Hilsum

‘Evariste was the nightwatchman. He and I were alone in the house in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, when the killing started.’

Those Who Felt Differently

Ian Jack

‘Could grief for one woman have caused all this? We were told so.’

Self-Consciousness

Edward W. Said

‘It was through my mother that I grew more aware of my body as incredibly fraught and problematic.‘

Editing Vidia

Diana Athill

‘I thought so highly of Vidia’s writing and felt his presence on our list to be so important that I simply could not allow myself not to like him.’

Shrinks

Edmund White

‘Self-doubt, which is a cousin to self-hatred, became my constant companion.’

Kiltykins

Ved Mehta

‘When I was seeing Kilty (how, even today, the word 'seeing' mesmerizes me), the fact of my blindness was never mentioned, referred to, or alluded to’.

The View from this End

Alexandra Fuller

‘It lay like a sodden comma, curled up against its mother, and no one realised it was dead.’

How to Write About Africa

Binyavanga Wainaina

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

Lost Cat

Mary Gaitskill

‘Which deaths are tragic and which are not? Who decides what is big and what is little?’

All I Know About Gertrude Stein

Jeanette Winterson

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

On Taking Time

Elizabeth Cook

Elizabeth Cook on the art of slow writing.

A Great Lake

Nam Le

‘The system wants us to want to belong, at almost any price.’

In Search of Beauty: Blackness as a Poem in Saudi Arabia

Sulaiman Addonia

Sulaiman Addonia on the slow process of rediscovering the beauty of black skin after moving to Saudi Arabia as a child.

Exhale

Beth Gardiner

‘After all my travels, I can see now what I couldn’t when I started. In the suffering pollution brings, there is also the glimmer of a different future, its outlines visible through the haze.’

How Do You Write a Memoir When You Can’t Remember?

Wendy Mitchell & Anna Wharton

Wendy Mitchell, who has been living with dementia since 2014, discusses the process of writing her memoir with her ghostwriter, Anna Wharton.

The Power of a Name

Rebecca Tamás

‘When English is the dominant everything, you can’t help wanting to fight for the little speck of the rest of your self.’

Fires

James Pogue

‘In 2018 in northern California, 21,000 homes burned.’

On Meeting Mrs Obama

Sarah Ladipo Manyika

‘Michelle’s story, while deeply rooted in the American story, speaks to experiences that are universal.’