Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

Explore essays and memoir


Language of Detective Fiction: Fiction of Detective Language

D. A. Miller

‘The criminal language of detective fiction is subject to the same liability to backfire as crime itself.’

Early Retirement

John Lanchester

‘My father used to tell the story of a tutor at his university, a Viennese professor of something or other.’

My Chess Teacher

Ricardo Lísias

‘The environment, however, wasn’t a hostile one. Though it was filled with the strangest guys in town, they were only there to play.’

Paris or Prague?

Milan Kundera

‘May in Paris was an explosion of revolutionary lyricism. The Prague Spring was the explosion of post-revolutionary scepticism.’

My Body

Sarah Manguso

‘When I was twenty-one I became a citizen of the hospital.’

God and Me

Blake Morrison

‘My hopes weren’t high, even to begin with, so I felt no bitterness when He didn’t reveal Himself’

Letter from Gaza

Hisham Matar

‘It is difficult not to see the assassination of Ghassan Kanafani as an attempt to obliterate the Palestinian narrative.’

Murderer in the Family (Part Two)

Rian Malan

‘It's not just their skins that are white; their minds are white, too. They are generic whites with western values.’

The Chelsea Affect

Arthur Miller

‘Despite parboiling myself in the shower a few times I began to like the hotel’.

Yiyun Li | First Sentence

Yiyun Li

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

God and Me

Andrew Martin

‘At the moment, I would say that depends what you mean by ‘believe’ and what you mean by “God”’

Airports: Frontier Nations

Andrés Neuman

‘1.In the waiting area of the Málaga airport for departing flights, a flock of birds nests on the beams. They fly back and forth across the high ceiling.’

Vanishing Virgil

Maaza Mengiste

‘We want to believe that we will die with dignity; that death is a confrontation and the battle is somewhat fair.’


Hanif Kureishi

‘Bradford, I felt, was a place I had to see for myself, because it seemed that so many important issues, of race, culture, nationalism, and education, were evident in an extremely concentrated way.’

Gandhi the Londoner

Sam Miller

‘On 29 September 1888, an Indian teenager with a mild case of ringworm and a fine head of hair sailed into the Thames Estuary.’ Sam Miller on Ghandi's time in London.

Remembering Iain M Banks

Stuart Kelly

Stuart Kelly remembers Iain Banks, and assesses the influence he's had on this generation of writers.

Brand Leader

Fintan O’Toole

‘It was a clear, uncomplicated space, a brand image, a label that could be stuck on a billion sauce bottles.’

A Childhood in Terezin

Ivan Klíma

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

The Story of a Variation

Milan Kundera

‘I have often heard it said that the novel has already exhausted all its possibilities. I have the opposite impression: that in four hundred years of existence the novel has missed many of its opportunities: it has left many great opportunities unexploited, many roads forgotten, many calls unheard.’

They Always Come in the Night

Dinaw Mengestu

‘Tell them truth. Tell them we are out here dying.’

Dr J

Kalpana Narayanan

‘My father has his own language for everything. When I finished my MFA, I was a NINJA: No Income, No Job, No Assets.’

Dreams for Hire

Gabriel García Márquez

‘At nine o'clock in the morning, while we were having breakfast on the terrace of the Hotel Riviera in Havana, a terrifying wave appeared out of nowhere – the day was sunny and calm – and came crashing upon us.‘

The Weather in Mongolia

Philip Marsden

‘Back in Ulanbataar, we went to Narmandakh's flat on the fourth floor of a grey, Soviet-style block in a crowd of other Soviet-style blocks’.

The Ascent of Man

Joseph O’Neill

‘One June dusk in 1999 I found myself walking across a rice field near Fishing Pond, in east Trinidad, in the company of a game warden and a self-described naturalist-at-large sometimes known as the Turtle Man.’


Robert Macfarlane

‘There are many ways to die underground.’

Deeper into the Heart of Borneo (Part II)

Redmond O’Hanlon

‘James, resplendent in leopard skin and hornbill feathers, looked even more solemn than is his habit.’

Javier Montes on Emilio Fraia

Javier Montes

‘Fraia sets himself the most difficult and respectable task a writer can face: unveiling the mystery without revealing the secret.’

Letter From Pondicherry, India

Akash Kapur

‘When I was growing up in Pondicherry, a former French colony on the south-east coast of India, I would go with my family each Sunday to the beach.‘

The Collector

Paul Maliszewski

‘Mitchell's writing is a blueprint for a New York which was then disappearing and is now almost lost.’


Leonard Michaels

‘Of course I wouldn’t. It would be politically incorrect, as is anything really personal.’

Do I Owe You Something?

Michael Mewshaw

‘In the fall of 1971, Rome enjoyed an unbroken skein of bright crisp mornings and balmy afternoons that stretched on into November’.

Blue Moon

Hiromi Kawakami

‘Rather than death itself, it is the disappearance of traces that seems unbearable and sad. The disappearance of all signs that I existed.’

Where is Thy Sting-a-Ling-a-Ling?

James Lasdun

‘The fire department didn't have a tall enough ladder to reach his body.’

My Heart

Semezdin Mehmedinović

‘Today, it seems, was the day I was meant to die.’

The Snow in Ghana

Ryszard Kapuściński

‘We always carry it to foreign countries, all over the world, our pride and our powerlessness.’


Albino Ochero-Okello

‘As I stood in front of the immigration officer, I was already worrying about my answers to the questions he might ask’.