Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

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Amit Chaudhuri | First Sentence

Amit Chaudhuri

‘A scene in which nothing is ostensibly happening will absorb me; so will a paragraph that contains no vital piece of information.’

Kelly Magee | First Sentence

Kelly Magee

‘Mothers: our first source of love, our first heartbreak.’

First Sentence: Javier Zamora

Javier Zamora

‘Immigration has become a physical thing, like a tumor inside us, between us.’

First Sentence: Mary O’Donoghue

Mary O’Donoghue

‘It’s the small stuff – and here I mean the odd particulate matter of daily life – that lets me access the sprawl of a place that wasn’t mine but has incrementally become so.’

First Sentence: Eliza Griswold

Eliza Griswold

‘This, of course, was years before anyone knew or cared who Boko Haram was.’

First Sentence: Mika Taylor

Mika Taylor

‘I didn’t want reality to overwrite the story that was forming in my head.’

Greg Jackson | First Sentence

Greg Jackson

‘I am being, I believe, about as forthright as I am being coy.’

First Sentence: Molly Brodak

Molly Brodak

‘A name is a single small token of selfhood issued at birth, upon which all the rest of one’s person must be built.’

Anjali Joseph | First Sentence

Anjali Joseph

‘I kept returning to the Beckett stories, a favourite since I came upon them in my late teens.’

Cynthia Ozick | First Sentence

Cynthia Ozick

‘Some stories begin with an incident, or a set of enigmatic circumstances, or a scene indelibly witnessed, or the relationship of unlike temperaments, or even something as gossamer as a mood. And then there is the kind of story that is rooted in an idea.’

First Sentence: Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich

‘We live in these places out of necessity, lucky to have them out of the terrible explosion of humanity.’

Mona Simpson | First Sentence

Mona Simpson

‘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.’

Melinda Moustakis | First Sentence

Melinda Moustakis

‘We all would like to think that with one line, one brush, we could make a reader fall madly in love, and there are writers that elicit such a response with the appropriately gorgeous.’

Toh EnJoe | First Sentence

Toh EnJoe

‘I think that the thing called thought can be viewed as rooted in the very real phenomenon of neurons firing.’

Aracelis Girmay | First Sentence

Aracelis Girmay

‘For me, it happens most with early 90s R&B.’

Ann Beattie | First Sentence

Ann Beattie

‘Several times I’ve wanted to title something one thing, but have realized or been persuaded it isn’t a good idea.’

Laura Kasischke | First Sentence

Laura Kasischke

‘There really was a moth I found in a toolbox (not as musical or interesting as ‘strongbox’), alive, in the attic, in that box.’

Patrick French | First Sentence

Patrick French

‘In Edwardian days, if you were growing up in England (though Maurice was from Ireland) your life was regimented.’

A.L. Kennedy | First Sentence

A.L. Kennedy

‘I have never seen anyone eat figs in the street and feel I am unsurprised.’

Yiyun Li | First Sentence

Yiyun Li

‘But for her, and perhaps for many, the solidity of an invented life is not trustworthy.’

Ange Mlinko | First Sentence

Ange Mlinko

‘I rediscovered the efficacy of meter (or the ‘contrast between fixity and flux’) when I was stuck in a shark tunnel with my kids and was afraid I was coming down with a panic attack.’

Héctor Abad | First Sentence

Héctor Abad

‘Ever since this happened to me, I haven’t really believed in free will.’

David Searcy | First Sentence

David Searcy

‘When I was a kid, my family doctor, right through high school, was this wonderful, funny guy with a little Boston Blackie moustache who looked a lot like Burgess Meredith.’

Miroslav Penkov | First Sentence

Miroslav Penkov

‘It was an old woman’s racism that inspired the first line of ‘Blood Money’.’

Hero of Tiananmen Square

Orville Schell

‘The spring of 1989 was so apocalyptic that at the time it had seemed unthinkable that the year's events would fade or that China would ever be able to forget them.'

Motley Notes

Ian Jack

‘We showed 'the spirit of London', the same spirit of our citizen forebears during their bombing by the Luftwaff.’