Explore essays and memoir
Souvankham Thammavongsa | Notes on Craft
‘When I look at a word, I can see the thing inside it. The ear inside heart.’
Best Book of 1990: Anecdotes of Modern Art
‘If I tell you a book is an encyclopedic and fast-paced tour of the interrelationship of making art and being in pain, need I say more?’
Best book of 1936: Locos
Ingrid Persaud on why Felipe Alfau’s Locos is the best book of 1936.
Best Book of 1969: Pricksongs & Descants
Lisa Taddeo on why Robert Coover’s Pricksongs & Descants is the best book of 1969.
Mountains Don’t Know Borders
‘In the Balkans, the present is often perched precariously on top of the past.’
Letter to Razan Zaitouneh
PEN International’s Day of the Imprisoned Writer – we stand in solidarity with writers who have suffered persecution exercising their freedom of expression.
Ten Books that Changed the World
Martin Puchner on ten books that have changed the course of world history.
‘They joked about how tough they’d be by the time they got home.’
The Book Tree
‘I dreamed of dictionaries. I crammed myself with liquorice, honeymoons, caramels.’
L’Arbre aux livres
En ce temps si proche, Dieu était partout et personne ne pouvait l’assassiner.
Getting Away With It
A case of Russian espionage from Tim Phillips' book The Secret Twenties: British Intelligence, the Russians, and the Jazz Age.
Desire | State of Mind
‘My burgeoning sense of my own attractiveness, so fragile and recently developed, withered in this less than fertile ground.’
We are living through a period of pop-up populism, where each political movement redefines ‘the Many’ and ‘the People’, where we are always reconsidering who counts as an ‘insider’ or an ‘outsider’, where what it means to belong is never certain.
Nothing to be afraid of | State of Mind
‘Life in the first person is both magical and terrifying. But it is circumscribed.’ Anil K. Seth on the ties between our brains, bodies and consciousness.
‘What’s in a state of mind? How do we describe emotions, or the complex relationship between individuals and the state?’
Coming Home to the Counter-Revolution
‘My Cairo is an inverted city, one that wears its innards above the skin.’
Gay and Depressed | State of Mind
‘It would be a bit more tolerable if we lived in a society that didn’t blame depression on its victims.’
Brother | State of Mind
‘We don’t often talk seriously or in depth about our childhood these days, but we know we could, and we know what good it did us.’
Marcel Proust’s letters to his neighbour, translated from the French by Lydia Davis.
The Peripatetic Penelope Fitzgerald
Lucy Scholes on the highs, lows and package tours of Booker-prize-winning author Penelope Fitzgerald. ‘Fitzgerald’s life can only be attributed to the caprices of fate.’
Dead in Venice
‘If I wasn’t a fish spawned in the Brenta river, why was I so compelled to keep returning?’ Masahiko Shimada on his many trips to Venice.
Brontez Purnell Is Everything
Novelist, zinester, dancer, go-go-boy, punk, filmmaker, actor, performer, Brontez Purnell is everything.
The Tamarind is Always Sour
‘By law, the more than one million Rohingya in Myanmar are almost all excluded from Myanmar citizenship, making them the largest stateless group in the world.’
Remembering Denis Johnson
When people ask me what Denis was like, I always think about how he listened far more intently than just about any writer I’d ever met.
Any Idiot Can Write a Book
A production company is looking for contestants to participate in a new TV show, modelled on The Apprentice. They are seeking unpublished writers who have completed a novel.
Cats Explain Things to Me | Discoveries
Take a paws from your busy day for this week’s Discoveries – guest edited by Granta’s very own Typo the cat.
Wendell Steavenson | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘Our globalised world of easyJet and Google Translate does not seem to have fostered any greater understanding’
‘Writing about other people doesn’t have to be an exercise of power or a theft of identity.’
Samanth Subramanian | Is Travel Writing Dead?
‘The first time I ever visited a place I’d read about in a travel book was when my family took a holiday in Hong Kong in 1993.’