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.’

One Day I Will Write About This Place

Binyavanga Wainaina

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

Frank’s Place

Richard Williams

‘Marilyn Monroe spent a couple of nights at the Cal-Neva. Sinatra knew she was in a bad way.’

Letter from Wyoming

Brad Watson

‘Before I moved to Wyoming in 2005, I was – like a lot of people outside this region, it turns out – not quite sure just where it was.’

Bulletproof Vest

Maria Venegas

‘Maybe you should consider moving’

Arithmetic on the Frontier

Declan Walsh

‘These days the tempest of Taliban violence ripping across the frontier has shaken Peshawar to its core.’

Life and Breasts

Ludmila Ulitskaya

‘My reminder of mortality came in early 2010, and I found the narrative that followed raw but completely engrossing. For the present, but only for the present, it is behind me.’

A Thousand Splendid Stuns

Morwari Zafar

‘More important than anything else that fateful year was the life-defining transcendence of Peter Gabriel.’

Woman’s Body: An Owner’s Manual

Evie Wyld

‘In the year before my first period, my mother gives me a book called Woman’s Body, An Owner’s Manual.’

Ventimiglia

Joanna Walsh

‘Love is constant revolution, pure disruption, it can never be stilled.’

Persian Love

Alan Warner

‘It is 6:22 of what beauty and life's joy there is to extract’

Searching for Pavese

Alejandro Zambra

‘Something’s gone awry with this article. My intention was to remember, in his birthplace, a writer I admire, and it’s clear that my admiration has waned.’

In Gikuyu, for Gikuyu, of Gikuyu

Binyavanga Wainaina

‘My first name, Binyavanga, has always been a sort of barometer of public mood.’

Barrenland

A Yi

‘I no longer feared that she would entrap me; my heart would not soften.’

Liberation Day

Christa Wolf

‘The world stubbornly refused to end and we were not prepared to cope with a world that refused to end.’

Self-Consciousness: Memoirs by John Updike

Edmund White

‘The freedom conferred by masks. Children and current wives cannot blame you for what your characters do and say.’

Notes from New York

James Wolcott

‘Now and then it can appear that an entire magazine is opening up the silks, searching for a soft place to land.’

Stevenage

Gary Younge

‘In 1988 my mother took the bus to Stevenage town centre to do the weekly shop, came home and died in her sleep.’

The Case Against Babies

Joy Williams

‘Babies, babies, babies. There’s a plague of babies.’

Joburg

Ivan Vladislavić

‘When a house has been alarmed, it becomes explosive.’

Wrestling with Translation

Jeffrey Yang

‘As I embarked on my adventure I immediately started to feel that old hatred for simplified Chinese characters.’

The Aesthetics of Resistance

Peter Weiss

‘His whole life, he had declared while still at work on this painting, was nothing less than a continual struggle against the backwardness of thought and the killing of art.’

Home: Peckham

Evie Wyld

‘Peckham is the place of my adolescence, my first cobbled together attempts at dressing myself from the charity shops on Rye Lane.’

The One True God, Allah

Richard Watson

‘This is the story of the British jihad.’

Fortune

Tobias Wolff

‘We’d left Sarasota in the dead of summer, right after my tenth birthday, and headed west under low flickering skies that turned black and exploded and cleared just long enough to leave the air gauzy with steam.’

The Merry Widow

Edmund White

’She met my father in Texas and then they moved north, where I was born in Cincinnati.‘

The Last Post

Simon Winchester

‘It is the roar, however, that is most magnificent and daunting’

The Metaphoreign Body

Tod Wodicka

‘Finally, I was reduced to a piece of matter, solid and real and mute and totally absorbed inside a foreign system.’

Zagreb

Dubravka Ugrešić

‘‘We’ll print your book if you bring us 140 kilos of paper,’ says my friend, a publisher. ‘Where can I find 140 kilos of paper?’ ‘I don’t know. That’s your problem, you’re the writer.’’

Women’s Shadow in the American Western

Thirza Wakefield

‘The wild is no place for women—the film would seem to say.’

We Went to Saigon

Tia Wallman

‘I thought that this must be the sort of plane that crashes. What were a few more dead, travelling to the city of the dead?’

Pariah

Viramma

‘All my children have been buried where they died’

Diego Garcia

Simon Winchester

‘How do you persuade a thousand dogs to walk into a fire? How do you persuade them, as it were, to commit suttee?’.

Saigon Dreaming

Tela Zasloff

‘In the summer of 1964, when we arrived in Saigon, our house belonged to the United States military, whose cheerful Vietnamese employees moved us in.’

Jihad Redux

Declan Walsh

‘American patience snapped, and Washington took matters into its own hands.’

Ali the Muscle

Johnny West

‘All individuality is collapsed by the dog-eat-dog language of ‘us and them’ into a choice between one of two separate, irreconcilable identities.’