Explore essays and memoir
The Last Shopkeepers of London
‘It became a kind of mission to find contemporaries of theirs that weren’t closing down, establishments that have continued to flourish, or at least endure.’
Root and Branch
‘I am my father’s daughter, a former prisoner of war and “suspicious person” who spent ten years in the Gulag.’ Translated from the Russian by Polly Gannon.
Karl Kraus and Veza
‘It was natural that the rumors about both these people should reach me at the same time; they came from the same source, from which everything new for me came at that time.’
Jacques Testard | The Editor’s Chair
‘It is clear when reading Svetlana Alexievich that she has a deep empathy for the characters whose stories she tells.’
Carys Davies | Notes on Craft
‘All good stories are both resonant and concrete; they live in the mind of the reader and reverberate beyond the pages of the book.’
The Leech Barometer
‘To be consumed by leeches is to be vital, to be animate, though it is also to be reminded you are something else’s prey, and therefore porous and mortal.’
‘We hope that the copilot knows the terrain well. That his mask of youth conceals the face of a seasoned veteran of war. That he knows the minefields because he helped plant them.’
In the Valley of Coachella
Novelist Susan Straight and photographer Douglas McCulloh on the presidential streets of the ‘real’ Coachella
Who Killed Tolstoy?
‘I walked along the birch-lined alleys of Yasnaya Polyana, looking for clues. Snakes were swimming in the pond, making a rippling pattern. Everything here was a museum.’
Pay for Your Words
Peter Pomerantsev downloads his Facebook data. ‘We seem to be caught in a trap: the more we use a word, the more we will be charged for it.’
Danny Denton | Notes on Craft
‘My tuppence on craft is this: as a writer, you must give your reader space to experience the world of your story (whatever form it takes)’
A Mischief of Rats
‘They slept curled together in a hammock, little scraps of fur, hearts beating madly.’ Joanna Kavenna on her pet rats, Kat Bjelland and Courtney Love.
The Great Israeli novel of War and Doubt
Granta editor Anne Meadows writes about Khirbet Khizeh, the great Israeli novel of war and doubt.
The one/many problem
‘Other creatures literally stop me breathing. There are so many of them, and only one of me.’ Daisy Hildyard writes about her research into the animal kingdom.
‘A kestrel is not domestic. The one time I tried affection the bird put his beak through my lip.’
'I never worried about my flat catching fire before Poppy came along.' Caroline Criado-Perez on her pet Poppy.
It’s Only Skin
‘I knew what it was to be an object of desire, and to be submissive.’ Lily Dunn on being a painter's model as a girl.
Climb the Mountains
'Harm that comes through the hands of those we love must be wrestled with; it does not simply disappear.'
'I didn't start out a writer, and had no plans of becoming one.' Tatyana Tolstaya, translated from the Russian by Anya Migdal
Lisa Moore | Notes on Craft
‘I wanted to explore what a “likeness” is, and how the act of capturing a person through a portrait might compare to writing a character.’
Téa Obreht on a chance encounter with a moose in Wyoming, for Granta 142: Animalia
A Not-So-Pretty History of Pet Care
‘One day after the next I would figure out what was needed, learn from my mistakes, pay attention to what worked.’
Cumbrian Fell Pony
Sarah Hall writes about the Cumbrian fell pony for Granta 142: Animalia.
‘I would peel wrappers off sandwiches, remove noodles from their boxes, fry up meat before any authorities had the chance to track me and my bounty down.’
The Agony and Ecstasy of Escape
Will Boast on how Bernini's Apollo and Daphne helped him write his latest novel
‘These bored, frustrated and hungry animals appear as reluctant figures in some unsolvable puzzle, or as victims of a grand experiment whose original purpose is lost in time.’
‘I wonder whether there’s a real moral difference between killing an animal and killing a human being.’ Translated from the Dutch by Sam Garrett.
‘There is something about the presence of coyotes that makes any place feel wilder than it is.’