Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

Explore essays and memoir


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.

How It Ends

Andrew O’Hagan

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

Interesting if True

Phillip Knightley

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

Baby Clutch

Adam Mars-Jones

‘Endlessly we reformulate our feelings for each other.’

The Press Officer

Alvaro Vargas Llosa

‘The threat of Fujimori was well hidden. There was nothing we could do: the die was cast.’

Cary Grant’s Suit

Todd McEwen

‘North by Northwest isn't a film about what happens to Cary Grant, it's about what happens to his suit.’

Coming Down

Ved Mehta

‘I was besieged by family memories.’


Alice Munro

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

Maud Newton | Portrait of My Father

Maud Newton

‘Exactly how long the prostitute, unbeknownst to my father, stayed at our house and slept in my bed is hard to gauge.’

Watching the Rain in Galicia

Gabriel García Márquez

‘Only then did I understand where my grandmother had got that credulity which allowed her to live in a supernatural world in which everything was possible and where rational explanations were totally lacking in validity.’

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. ’

Now A Major Motion Picture

Todd McEwen

‘None of these high-falutin pansy-ass would-be 'technologies' are going to save literature.’


Primo Levi

‘Life is full of customs whose roots can no longer be traced ... but in any event, why were pig's feet obligatory with lentils, and cheese on macaroni?’


Norman Lewis

‘Essex is the ugliest county. I only went there to be able to work in peace and quiet and get away from the settlers from London south of the river.’

The Lord in his Wisdom

Jackie Kay

‘I realize with a fresh horror that Jonathan is seeing me as the sin’

Two Years in the Dark

Andrew O’Hagan

‘There's no right or wrong about this, there's only style.’

An Escape from Kampala

Wycliffe Kato

‘‘Be brave,’ she said, ‘pull yourself together. What you are about to see is worse than you ever imagined.’ She asked if I knew what Winston Churchill had called Uganda. He had called it the pearl of Africa.’

They tell me you are Big

Todd McEwen

‘Airports like abattoirs are white.’

My Father’s Life

Leonard Michaels

‘Six days a week he rose early, dressed, ate breakfast alone, put on his hat, and walked to his barbershop at 207 Henry Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, about half a mile from our apartment.’

The Writing of ‘Or Shall We Die?’

Ian McEwan

‘There was too the challenge, as I saw it, of writing a singable English, simple and clear, that could express public themes without pomposity and private feelings without bathos.’

Fellow Workers

Mary McCarthy

‘If it had not been for me, he would never have been in Mexico.’


Kamran Nazeer

‘Over samosas and pakoras and three different kinds of green chilli chutney, she spoke to us about politics.’

Airports: Frontier Nations

Andrés Neuman

‘1.In the waiting area of the Málaga airport for departing flights, a flock of birds nests on the beams. They fly back and forth across the high ceiling.’


Leonard Michaels

‘Of course I wouldn’t. It would be politically incorrect, as is anything really personal.’


Jan Morris

‘The sea runs through our house – not literally, of course, but metaphorically, or perhaps emotionally.’

Letter from Gaza

Hisham Matar

‘It is difficult not to see the assassination of Ghassan Kanafani as an attempt to obliterate the Palestinian narrative.’

Where is Thy Sting-a-Ling-a-Ling?

James Lasdun

‘The fire department didn't have a tall enough ladder to reach his body.’

Vanishing Virgil

Maaza Mengiste

‘We want to believe that we will die with dignity; that death is a confrontation and the battle is somewhat fair.’

The Snow in Ghana

Ryszard Kapuściński

‘We always carry it to foreign countries, all over the world, our pride and our powerlessness.’

Portrait of My Father

Jon McGregor

‘He must have taken thousands of services in that time, but this still feels like the holiest thing he’s ever done.‘


Robert Macfarlane

‘There are many ways to die underground.’

The Muse in the Cellar

James Lasdun

‘It seems to me that at the age of thirteen, I had already developed the cynicism of a seventy-year-old dictator.’

Dreams for Hire

Gabriel García Márquez

‘At nine o'clock in the morning, while we were having breakfast on the terrace of the Hotel Riviera in Havana, a terrifying wave appeared out of nowhere – the day was sunny and calm – and came crashing upon us.‘

The Collector

Paul Maliszewski

‘Mitchell's writing is a blueprint for a New York which was then disappearing and is now almost lost.’

God and Me

Richard Mabey

‘It’s always been like this for me with spirituality. I catch a whiff of the numinous, and it turns visceral in a moment.’

Remembering Iain M Banks

Stuart Kelly

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