Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

Explore essays and memoir


A.L. Kennedy | First Sentence

A.L. Kennedy

‘I have never seen anyone eat figs in the street and feel I am unsurprised.’


Hari Kunzru

‘Writer: How do we get back? Stalker: Here, nobody returns.’

Yiyun Li | First Sentence

Yiyun Li

‘But for her, and perhaps for many, the solidity of an invented life is not trustworthy.’

Ange Mlinko | First Sentence

Ange Mlinko

‘I rediscovered the efficacy of meter (or the ‘contrast between fixity and flux’) when I was stuck in a shark tunnel with my kids and was afraid I was coming down with a panic attack.’

Chupa Globo (Globo Sucks)

Sophie Lewis

‘Carnival by stealth: ticketless, leaderless and limitless, a surge of feeling independent of schools, parties, king or queen; a true subversion of the status quo.’

Tao Lin | On Tour

Tao Lin

‘The editor of the Oregonian’s books section (Powell’s employees later confirmed to me that it was him, but they could be wrong) attended, I think, and asked in what sounded to me like an accusatory, non-curious voice if I was on drugs.’

Notes from Uzbekistan

Chinelo Okparanta

‘The cultural presentations of the students – that juxtaposition of old and new world, of tradition and modernity.’

The Perfect Last Days of Mr Sengupta

Siddartha Mukherjee

‘The point of lucid death,’ he said, ‘is to retain the consciousness of dying, while blunting the agony of it.’


Robert Macfarlane

‘There are many ways to die underground.’

A Walk to Kobe

Haruki Murakami

‘What I’m talking about is a different sea, and different mountains.’ Haruki Murakami walks to his hometown after the Great Hanshin earthquake of 1995.

Remembering Iain M Banks

Stuart Kelly

Stuart Kelly remembers Iain Banks, and assesses the influence he's had on this generation of writers.

Helen Oyeyemi | My Writing Playlist

Helen Oyeyemi

Helen Oyeyemi on what she listens to while writing and editing.

Rooms That Have Had Their Part

Joanna Kavenna

‘Rooms jaundiced by bad lighting, so you wondered, what is ague, and could we have it? Rooms that hummed, a hum you couldn’t quite identify, or that seemed in the end to come from your own head.’

Leagues Away

Benjamin Markovits

‘A year passed before I could pick up a ball again with pleasure.’

Samba e Choro

Javier Montes

‘I think the cities we remember best are the ones that greet us with the utmost cruelty.’

Introducing Luisa Geisler

Elvira Navarro

‘To see everything large and to see it all for the first time is what a child’s eyes constantly do.’

Introducing Miguel Del Castillo

Andrés Neuman

‘And questions, more than heroes, are the material from which good stories are made.’

Javier Montes on Emilio Fraia

Javier Montes

‘Fraia sets himself the most difficult and respectable task a writer can face: unveiling the mystery without revealing the secret.’

Introducing Tatiana Salem Levy

A.L. Kennedy

Tatiana Salem Levy is introduced by previous double Best of Young British Novelist, A.L. Kennedy.

A Dose of Winter Medicine

Kseniya Melnik

‘I looked at the carpet in her small living room. This is where she had fallen and lay for twenty-four hours before her younger sister, Auntie Tanya, had found her.’

The Doctor Will See You Now

Amit Majmudar

‘The patients who really need seeing are usually unaware they are being seen.’

The Conflicted Legacy of Meles Zenawi

Maaza Mengiste

‘Meles Zenawi’s legacy is as complicated as the life he chose to live, under a name (Meles) that he took from a fallen comrade during his days as a guerrilla fighter. ’


Alice Munro

‘I read books as usual, nobody knew there was a thing the matter with me.’

My Heart

Semezdin Mehmedinović

‘Today, it seems, was the day I was meant to die.’

Fragments of a Nation

Nadifa Mohamed

‘I became English by osmosis; a new sense of humour, altered manners, an alternative history filtering through my old skin.’

Poets, Politics and Coca Tea

Valerie Miles

‘Poetry can grab you unawares, overwhelm you. The tears came like a hard rain falling.’


Robert Macfarlane

‘This is the Broomway, allegedly ‘the deadliest’ path in Britain and certainly the unearthliest path I have ever walked.’

The Magic Place

Kapka Kassabova

‘My arrival in Edinburgh seven years ago was almost a blind date.’

That Whole London Thing

A.L. Kennedy

‘But London has always been impossible and yet possible and has always called me.’

The Reader and Technology

Toby Litt

‘Literature isn’t alien to technology, literature is technological to begin with.’

Brodsky’s Room and a Half

Valeria Luiselli

‘It’s enough to sit in silence for the duration of a lighted cigarette in order to be taken over by the life force flourishing among the graves.’

A Trip to Syria

David McConnell

‘Several years ago, a friend and I stayed at the one hotel set amid the ruins of Queen Zenobia’s oasis capital, Palmyra, in the Syrian desert.’

Leaving Afghanistan

Christopher Merrill

‘An Afghan saying – if you turn over a rock, you will find a poet.'

That Father Lost

Dave Lucas

‘The last words I heard my father speak were Help me, over and over again. In all the rest of my life I will never reconcile this with any God I could dream of believing in.’

The Road to Damascus

Claire Messud

‘How can it be, that all that is in us dies with us?’