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João’s War

Julia Rochester

‘He repeatedly said, “I should have been a priest.“ He was right. People sought his benediction.’

After Silk Road

Mike Power

‘The Dark Web is a shadow internet, an unindexed, unseen and lawless corner of cyberspace.’

Teachers

Sandy Tolan

‘They came from Europe, Palestine and America, drawn by the story of Ramzi and Al Kamandjâti, by the young traveller’s spirit of adventure, and by the desire to use their musical talents for work that could make a difference in the world.’

A Brief History of a Musical Failure

Catherine Tice

‘At the end of the piece, there was silence, followed by a sudden thunder of feet and bows on the stands. A thrilling noise.’

Lullaby

Mary Ruefle

‘I wasn’t bored, I was relaxed, and, I suppose, happy (I’ve never been able to figure out how happiness feels).’

David Searcy | First Sentence

David Searcy

‘When I was a kid, my family doctor, right through high school, was this wonderful, funny guy with a little Boston Blackie moustache who looked a lot like Burgess Meredith.’

Miroslav Penkov | First Sentence

Miroslav Penkov

‘It was an old woman’s racism that inspired the first line of ‘Blood Money’.’

The Hudson River School

David Searcy

‘The coyote skull is on the table.’

Ross Raisin | On Tour

Ross Raisin

‘I was up at 5.30 this morning, to screaming, and it’s afternoon now and I’m covered in hummus and struggling to muster the energy to remove it from myself.’

Dutch Harbor Nights

Jim Ruland

‘When one of the fishermen starts belting out ‘All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Out Tonight’, it feels like a prophecy come to life.’

How to be Gay and Indian

Manil Suri

‘This was supposed to be my great in-your-face coming-out campaign, which I’d fretted over for months beforehand. Had India suddenly lost its conservativeness, turned enlightened, even hip?’

Playing the Odds

David Szalay

‘What, I wonder now, must the texture of my life have been like then, that winning those sort of sums failed to leave even the slightest mark on my memory?’

Rachel Seiffert on Naomi Alderman

Rachel Seiffert

‘So, to summarise: witty, bold, and delicate too. Oh yes, and supremely able to turn a story.’

Taiye Selasi | My Writing Playlist

Taiye Selasi

Taiye Selasi, one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists, shares a playlist of songs to write to.

Zadie Smith on ‘Just Right’

Zadie Smith

‘There should be a special term for abandoned stories, and another for the strange limbo in which their occupants live.’

Salman Rushdie on Sunjeev Sahota

Salman Rushdie

‘You open a book by a writer you’ve never heard of and a new voice leaps off the page and makes you listen.’

From the Past Comes the Storms

Andrés Felipe Solano

‘During the hottest months, the thermometer settles in at 100 degrees like a nonagenarian in a rocker – no one can make it move.’

Sugar in the Blood

Andrea Stuart

‘I understood that migration was a kind of death, in which one’s old self must be buried in order for a new self to be born.’

Introducing J.P. Cuenca

Andrés Felipe Solano

‘From the future, Cuenca narrates Rio’s collapse and the personal fall of the main character. He does it with the elegant distance of a data collector but also with the terrifying certainty of one who knows there’s no going back.’

Grand Mal

Patrick Ryan

‘And this is what very few novels or movies have ever gotten right about amnesia: it’s not exotic; it’s horrific and sad-making. I was sad because I had no story.’

Religion Against Humanity

Wole Soyinka

‘The world should not continue to acquiesce in the brutal culture of extremism that demands the impossible.’

The Father of Heliopolis

Pauls Toutonghi

‘Political institutions can be as fragile as the human bodies that run them.’

Remembering Anthony Shadid

Michael Robinson-Chavez

‘It was Anthony Shadid at his best, consumed by the stories of Iraq in the wake of the US led invasion and writing the most beautiful and intimate account of what followed.’

A Walk Through Manchester

Michael Symmons Roberts

‘The rich, tomato red that decorated most of my bedroom – curtains, lampshade, bedspread – and the pale, rinsed-out blue like a milky north-west sky that represented the other side.’

Granta in Bulgaria

Ilija Troyanow

‘Leafing through old issues is like marvelling at the showroom of a renowned jeweller.’

Scarp | New Voices

Nick Papadimitriou

‘His imagination lingers in the woods and fields like a slowly drifting plant community and then dissolves into ditches lined with black waterlogged leaves – a residue of previous summers – and the ghosts of dead insects.’

Downton Delirium

Francine Prose

‘Anglophilia is constantly thrumming on, or just under, the surface of our culture.’

My Mother, My Translator

Jaspreet Singh

‘Through that fuzzy mix of fiction/non-fiction she had told me the problematic stuff we avoid going near when we get together.’

Detroit, 1966

Lynda Schuster

‘This is how it starts, my yearning to escape: with a snot-green triangular stamp from Qatar.’

The Art of Horror

Michael Salu

‘Often, the most frightening thing is facing the other.’

Prison Echoes

Shahrnush Parsipur

‘When you are free, you inevitably feel compelled to act, but when incarcerated, you are powerless to do so.’

Not Easy to Tell

Patrick Ryan

‘I told him he looked like an assassin in an Elmore Leonard novel, and he smiled.’

False Blood

Will Self

‘The only real universals are that we all live – and, of course, we all must die.’

Deng’s Dogs

Santiago Roncagliolo

‘My earliest memory of Peru is a newspaper photograph from 1980 of dead dogs hanging from lamp posts in downtown Lima.’

Dreams in a Time of War

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

‘I had not had lunch that day and my stomach had already forgotten the breakfast porridge gobbled before my six-mile run to Kĩnyogori Intermediate School.’