Explore essays and memoir
Mark Gevisser examines the personal, political and social issues of transgender identity in America.
‘If pain is what makes others real to us, there was not another human being more real to me than my mother.’
‘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.’
‘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 Magic Box
‘It never gets dark in Times Square. Sometimes I’d wake at two or three or four and watch waves of neon pass through my room.’ An essay on David Wojnarowicz's work, life and archives.
When Did I Become a Writer?
‘I am often asked when I became a writer, and I have taken to not rushing my answer.’
Ann Beattie | First Sentence
‘Several times I’ve wanted to title something one thing, but have realized or been persuaded it isn’t a good idea.’
‘Peter Mitchell died on a frontier, not so much between black and white, or between the landed and the landless, as between the past and the future.’
The Emily Dickinson Series
The Emily Dickinson Series is a collection of collages by Janet Malcolm that appear in Granta 126: do you remember.
‘Rather than death itself, it is the disappearance of traces that seems unbearable and sad. The disappearance of all signs that I existed.’
Striking the keys of the same typewriter that once sat under J.G. Ballard’s fingers, Will Self reimagines the legendary writer’s last days.
‘Like a tiny old woman surrounded by strapping grandsons, the Maruti 800 was in fact the progenitor of all that new, muscular, vehicular variety.’
Mona Simpson | First Sentence
‘A year later, still in third person, I’d taken five days off my character’s long wait. I’d moved to present tense, though, for more immediacy.’
Be Careful with that Fan
‘I was stuck in Texas for a month. The days passed like slow-motion films.
Thing with Feathers that Perches in the Soul
‘It has to be love, doesn’t it? In however many of its infinite permutations?’
‘I longed to know what she was thinking, what she did all day when she wasn’t performing rituals.’
My Chess Teacher
‘The environment, however, wasn’t a hostile one. Though it was filled with the strangest guys in town, they were only there to play.’
A Place on Earth: Scenes from a War
Dense forest and formless roads lead Sundaram to the most recent sites of conflict, burnt-out villages where pigs have taken over their former owner’s homes in an ‘inversion of man and beast, of civilization and nature’.
‘It would’ve been a magical moment if my neighbours hadn’t started fucking at that very second.’
‘I walk out of the theatre in a daze. I’ve glimpsed something. But a glimpse, as it turns out, is not enough.’
Chasing Wolves in the American West
‘It is the wildest part of the American South-West and, in a way, its most beautiful.’
The Beauty of the Package
‘You can throw yourself into any fantasy, she (and her country) might have been saying, so long as you don’t mistake it for real life.’
Toh EnJoe | First Sentence
‘I think that the thing called thought can be viewed as rooted in the very real phenomenon of neurons firing.’
The Case of the Missing Miss Vincent
‘There is a sound to finishing a story like the first note of the 3.30 bell. Inside him a great crowd goes pouring into the daylight.’
‘Well, if the Bible, Greek tragedies and Star Wars have taught me something it’s that anything of great importance will eventually come in threes.’
‘Which is scarier: that the past could actually change or that you could just think it did?’
‘When he stepped into the cage he was doing battle with a disease. The disease was the feeling of powerlessness that takes hold of even the most powerful.’
‘It was in one of those listless summers after graduation that I found myself in the small Japanese town of Sasayama.’