Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

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1911, The Other Revolution

Isabel Hilton

‘Anniversaries, of course, can be a two-edged sword: they invite historical reappraisal.’

1979

Aminatta Forna

‘What happened in 1979 has happened many times before and many times since, in places where people have set themselves free and believed with all their hearts that the freedom they had fought for was real and lasting, only to be recaptured.’

(nostalgia)

Juliet Jacques

‘I ended up piecing my life together through other people.’

A Bar on North Avenue

Roger Ebert

‘We regulars knew each other. We dated each other. We slept with each other.’

A Bizarre Courtship

Ben Okri

‘One morning, more golden than yellow, I went outside to our housefront and saw that the beggars had gone.‘

A Blow to the Head

A.L. Kennedy

‘I am looking for my dead grandfather in the British Library.’

A Bosnian Alphabet

Lawrence Norfolk

‘APOLOGY: A should be for Alphabet: the device I am resorting to in some desperation to structure my thoughts on this subject: my relations vis-à-vis two Yugoslavian wars.‘

A Brief Guide to Gender in India

Minal Hajratwala

‘Please be creative. This is only the beginning.’

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.’

A Childhood in Broadmoor Hospital

Patrick McGrath

‘These were the friends of my early boyhood, men who twenty years earlier would still have been called ‘criminal lunatics’.‘

A Childhood in Terezin

Ivan Klíma

‘I am trying to reach, in memory, a time before the war began.’

A Cock Fight

Charles Nicholl

‘And now, the night before the fight, with the moon high and nearing the full, came the final preparation: we were taking him to Auguste.’

A Colossal Hoard

Ian Hamilton

‘For James Boswell, admiration was a busy, intimate affair.’

A Confession

Jess Row

‘I walk out of the theatre in a daze. I’ve glimpsed something. But a glimpse, as it turns out, is not enough.’

A Coup

Bruce Chatwin

‘We are having another little change of politics. Nothing more! In these situations one must keep calm. You understand? Calm!’

A Dose of Winter Medicine

Kseniya Melnik

‘I looked at the carpet in her small living room. This is where she had fallen and lay for twenty-four hours before her younger sister, Auntie Tanya, had found her.’

A Dynasty of Album Cover Art

Lemi Ghariokwu

‘The music is as powerful as it gets and beneath his knife-edge, cutting sarcasm, Fela’s voice rages.’

A Family in Nanjing

Colin Thubron

‘The old people had prepared a banquet for me - an extravagant spread of cold meats and dumplings which we ate with the prestige television blaring, and nobody watching it.’

A Feudal Outpost in Mount Lebanon

Lana Asfour

‘Intelligent, unpredictable, occasionally ruthless, Jumblatt shows that he is still very much in the game.’

A Fight in Bethnal Green

Jeremy Harding

‘There was no sizing up, no graceful footwork, none of the rhetoric of the game: this was unmitigated invective.’

A Fish Out of Water

Mario Vargas Llosa

‘A democracy, I said, is driven by the electoral process, and in elections there are victories and defeats.’

A Gentle Madness

Humera Afridi

‘Pakistan is a nation of memory keepers. We feed our memories as if they are guests at tea, pay homage to them.’

A Ghost Story

Rick Gekoski

‘It drives me crazy when I can’t make it stop.’

A Guide to the City of Beirut

Fawwaz Traboulsi

‘In Beirut, a well reveals layer upon layer, generation after generation, of ruins.’

A Hand Made Art

Per Gedin

‘This new kind of ‘planned’ best-seller invariably influences every other form of book production, most notably that of the book selling.’

A Hand Reached Down to Guide Me

David Gates

‘It took longer and longer for the next one to come, and then there wasn’t a next one.’

A Handful of Walnuts

Ahmed Errachidi & Clive Stafford Smith

‘There was no horizon, no life and nothing to see.’

A Hippy Among Communists

Klaus Schlesinger

‘In March 1975, thirty years after the collapse of German fascism, N., a student from Berlin – bearded and long-haired – attended a series of lectures at a university on the Baltic coast.’

A History

William Cooper

‘She was fighting for breath, fighting to live, perhaps fighting not to leave us.’

A Job on the Line

Desmond Barry

‘The atmosphere in the house was thick with my father's depression.’

A Journey into Afghanistan

Peregrine Hodson

‘We had been travelling for a week, and had reached the territory of the Hesb Nasr: a rival group of mujahedin who were notorious for ambushing travellers, stealing their weapons and skinning their victims.’

A Kept Woman

Laura Bell

‘I find myself walking the high trail between fear and love.’

A Kidnapped West or Culture Bows Out

Milan Kundera

‘But since Europe itself is in the process of losing its own cultural identity, it perceives in Central Europe nothing but a political regime; put another way, it sees in Central Europe only Eastern Europe.’

A Land Without Strangers

Ben Mauk

Ben Mauk on nationalism and xenophobia in Poland.

A Letter

Sławomir Mrożek

‘I draw your attention to football. The practice of this game threatens the basis of our very way of life.’