Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

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How to Write about Africa

Binyavanga Wainaina

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

Self-Made Man

Mark Gevisser

Mark Gevisser examines the personal, political and social issues of transgender identity in America.

Passport Control

Kwame Dawes

‘I am Ghanaian. This is my legal label. I was born there. It is my inheritance.’

Into the Cosmos

Chloe Aridjis

‘In those fervently atheist times, it wasn’t God or his angelic messengers who would come forth from the sky, but the cosmonaut.’

Outside the Whale

Salman Rushdie

‘For a man as truthful, direct, intelligent, passionate and sane as Orwell, ‘politics’ had come to represent the antithesis of his own world-view.’

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.

Frankenstein’s Mother

Darcey Steinke

‘If pain is what makes others real to us, there was not another human being more real to me than my mother.’

Tommy

Donald Ray Pollock

‘I began working at the Mead Paper Company in Chillicothe, Ohio, in the summer of 1973.’

Scavengers

Adam Johnson

‘I was dying to buy something, anything that would help my wife and children understand the profound surrealism and warped reality I’d experienced on my research trip to North Korea.’

One Day I Will Write About This Place

Binyavanga Wainaina

‘We are, it seems, in the middle of nowhere.’

Mnemosyne, Teen Taals, and Tottenham Court Road

Russell Hoban

‘Music is a puissant recaller of time past; music is memory's sister and for its very life relies on memory to hold in our minds the passage of sounds through time.’

Lavande

Ann Beattie

‘It seemed impossible, but probably everyone marries thinking such a thing impossible.’

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?’

Motley Notes

Ian Jack

‘What was it like to work in such a place?’

Jim Magee’s Hill

Pamela Petro

‘No one who’s seen The Hill has been able to describe it to me without visceral discomfort. Actually, no one’s been able to describe it at all.’

How It Ends

Andrew O’Hagan

‘Seagulls murmur overhead, and nip at the banks. You can hear almost nothing.’

Made in China

Isabel Hilton

‘Visiting a factory was one thing; working in one quite another.’

Six Brazilian Songs

Teju Cole

Teju Cole shares six favourite Brazilian songs.

Dear Peter

Simon Armitage & Ted Hughes

An unpublished letter by Ted Hughes, introduced by Simon Armitage. ‘It’s reassuring to see a spelling mistake (‘style’ for stile), and I love the maps.’

Interesting if True

Phillip Knightley

‘The end of the war in the Pacific came just before I left school.’

The Life and Death of a Homosexual

Pierre Clastres

‘There was no sweetness in the air that day: the corpse gave off a terrible stench’.

The Pretty Women of Paris

Anonymous

‘For the last fifteen years she has been richly kept by a Russian prince, who revels in her brutality, viciousness, extravagance and love of brandy.’

Mona’s Story

Urvashi Butalia

‘I’m a woman, I’ve always wanted to be one, it’s that simple.’

The Ambivalent

Paulo Scott

‘He not only sees the World Cup as a ceasefire, but also as a series of sleights of hand that hide what’s really going on, political debauchery, spin and chicanery.’

The Highway of Brotherhood and Unity

Michael Ignatieff

‘Back in 1989, we thought the new world opened up by the breaching of the Berlin Wall would be ruled by philosopher kings, dissident heroes and shipyard electricians.’

Tales Out of School

Kees Beekmans

‘But it seems I’ve said something stupid again, and blasphemous to boot.’

Cold Storage

Oliver Sacks

‘Uncle Toby was alive, but suspended, apparently, in some strange icy stupor.’

Baby Clutch

Adam Mars-Jones

‘Endlessly we reformulate our feelings for each other.’

Election Night in Nicaragua

Sergio Ramirez

‘There was no room in our dreams for another war.’

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.’

Constitutional

Helen Simpson

‘The thing about a circular walk is that you end up where you started’

The Meaning of Zombies

Naomi Alderman

‘They’re the interchangeable anonymous people we encounter on our daily commute, those whose humanity we cannot acknowledge.’

Do Fish Feel Pain?

James Hamilton-Paterson

‘Our mistake in this debate is to think that these issues can be resolved by science and ethics and the passing of nice clear laws’.

Kashmir’s Forever War

Basharat Peer

‘Yes, the gun was from Pakistan, but the stones are our own. That is our only weapon against the occupation.’

Coming Down

Ved Mehta

‘I was besieged by family memories.’

Jenni Fagan | My Writing Playlist

Jenni Fagan

Best of Young British Novelist Jenni Fagan selects five songs that she loves to write to.