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Explore Essays and memoir

A Flat Place

Noreen Masud

‘If all things were equal, what were we even doing here? Why weren’t we lying on our living-room floors, watching the dance of the dust, today and every day?’

Memoir by Noreen Masud.

Notes on Craft

Greg Jackson

‘It is hard to devote yourself to something that makes you feel constantly like an amateur.’

Greg Jackson on writing and teaching fiction.

Generation Gap

Lynne Tillman

‘A moment now swallowed in embarrassment, I asked a question only a young person might ask an older one.’

Lynne Tillman on trying to understand what makes a generation.

Generation Gap

Kate Zambreno

‘She didn’t trust us because, to her, tenants were like children.’

Kate Zambreno on negotiating with her older landlady.

Generation Gap

Sarah Moss

‘I’d been dubious about his company at first.’

Sarah Moss on watching Shakespeare with her twelve-year-old son.

Generation Gap

Oluwaseun Olayiwola

‘Listening to three white poets, whom I suspect are academics, talk about the state of poetry.’

Oluwaseun Olayiwola eavesdrops on an older generation.

Generation Gap

Allen Bratton

‘We meet at various points in the great swathes of the past that neither of us were alive to witness.’

Allen Bratton on a daytrip to a castle with his older boyfriend.


Thomas Meaney

‘The Generations issue of Granta offers different age cohorts a chance for mutual inspection.’

Thomas Meaney introduces the issue.

Ecce Senex: Stephen James Joyce

James Scudamore

‘He was “a Joyce, not a Joycean”, yet considered himself the supreme arbiter of what constituted valuable Joyce scholarship. At the same time, he admitted that he rarely read anything in full.’

James Scudamore on trying to ghostwrite Stephen James Joyce's memoir.

The Millennial Mind

Anton Jäger

‘Millennials were more than willing to bargain by riot.’

Anton Jäger evaluates the millennial generation.

Proper Country

Ralf Webb

‘It was by necessity, not choice.’

Ralf Webb on returning to the West Country.

Lifetimes of the Soviet Union

Yuri Slezkine

‘Bolshevism, like most millenarian movements, proved a one-generation phenomenon.’

Yuri Slezkine on Soviet history and the generational arc of revolution.

Niamey Nights

Rahmane Idrissa

‘The first time I heard of generations, they were likened to the loops of a ribbon.’

Rahmane Idrissa on photography and music in the Sahel.

The Life, Old Age and Death of a Woman of the People

Didier Eribon

‘How little one knows, really, about one’s parents.’

Memoir by Didier Eribon translated by Michael Lucey.