Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

Explore essays and memoir


Remembering Tim Hetherington

Michael Salu

‘Each image contained a finely weighed contemplation of a given moment, in all its furious intensity.’

The Ghost Children of the North

Bina Shah

‘‘I asked him what the four seasons of the year were’, she says, ‘and he replied, ‘sardi, garmi, hangama, hartal’’. (Winter, summer, riots, strikes.)’

Madison, Mon Amour

Patrick Ryan

‘I left the office just in time to get to Penn Station, find my track and hop onto my train. We pulled out into an afternoon grey and heavy with rain.’

To Stand in the Shadow

Samantha Smith

‘I orient myself in time with ‘before’ and ‘after’, using September 11 as a placemarker.’

The American Age, Iraq

Anthony Shadid

‘Nothing really escapes the detritus of death in this wreck of a city.’


Susan Power

‘I am the unlikely interlacing of two families who never thought their histories would braid together.’

The Golden Goat to Communist Ratio

Miroslav Penkov

‘Few people can pinpoint where Bulgaria is on the map. Some people might tell you they can, but you shouldn’t believe them.’

My Caine Prize Year

Olufemi Terry

‘I came away from these sessions convinced that I was no authority on my work, nor did I have any desire to be.’

The End of the Discussion

Patrick Ryan

‘I just never thought I’d see the day when Amtrak would start poisoning people.’


Rebecca Swift

‘Yet Grandma did talk to me that afternoon, and it was as if a wild flower had grown out of the rubble, survived for a day and then disappeared.’

Other Women

Francine Prose

‘Feminism is as basic to my sense of self as the fact that I have brown eyes.’

The Mercies

Ann Patchett

‘Once you knew what God wanted from your life, you would have to be ten different kinds of fool to look the other way.’

English Hours: Nothing Personal

Paul Theroux

‘England does not have a climate; it has weather, seldom dramatic.’

The Forging of a Writer

Tim Rushby-Smith

‘As a child visiting friends’ houses, I soon realized that our living room was unusual. Not everyone had an entire wall of books, floor to ceiling.’

Six Snapshots of Partition

John Siddique

‘He hands me my inheritance: a box of conversations. Fragments of memory, blank spaces, things which there are no words for.’

Portrait of Jinnah

Jane Perlez

‘God made Pakistan, not Jinnah.’

Kashmir’s Forever War

Basharat Peer

‘Yes, the gun was from Pakistan, but the stones are our own. That is our only weapon against the occupation.’

Pop Idols

Kamila Shamsie

‘In our grandmother’s generation, when people became more religious, they turned devout. Now they turn fundamentalist.’

Power Failure

Bina Shah

‘And it’s not just the heat – it’s the humidity, that succubus that pushes the heat index up by ten degrees, makes the roads shimmer with sultry mirages.’

Ants of Accra

Nii Ayikwei Parkes

‘Ants became an obsession with her – she darted with them as they changed paths, watched them find their way around obstacles placed in their way.’

Going Back

Sigrid Rausing

‘We rowed towards it, further out than perhaps we should have, with the particular anarchic freedom of rowing a small rubber dinghy to sea after at least two glasses of wine.’


Henrietta Rose-Innes

‘The name meant that this area had not always been white. It meant that families had been removed from here.’ Henrietta Rose-Innes remembers Cape Town.

Utterly Dylan

Patrick Ryan

‘I became mad and political and ironical almost overnight, and I started to feed on folk music.’

High and Dry

Richard Russo

‘What I’d noticed, actually, was that none of the men on the island were missing fingers.’

Road Trip

Owen Sheers

‘I’ve always been as surprised by what continues in Zimbabwe as much as by what has been lost; the shards of ‘normal’ life that survive in such a frayed society.’

What I’m Listening To: David Bowie

Wesley Stace

Wesley Stace on listening to every live recording of David Bowie. ‘He was always a step ahead.’

Park Life

Rupert Thomson

‘As the weeks went by, I began to realize that the park had its own unofficial and carefully calibrated infrastructure.’

On holiday with James Lord

Patrick Ryan

‘We talked about the snails in the yard that clung dying to the reeds of grass. At 5.05 he looked at his watch again. ‘Where’s the champagne?’’

Brief Encounter

Rupert Thomson

‘The man on the other end told me he was looking for sexual fantasies that were about eleven sentences long.’

Cinema’s Invisible Art

Jeremy Sheldon

‘Audiences don’t know somebody sits down and writes a picture.’

Work I Never Did

Jeremy Seabrook

‘My mother’s cry rang in my ears from infancy. ‘No child of mine is going into a shoe factory.’’


Donald Ray Pollock

‘I began working at the Mead Paper Company in Chillicothe, Ohio, in the summer of 1973.’

Essex Clay

Peter Stothard

‘Essex clay could be like living flesh or a cold dead wall.’

Saint Jane

Elaine Showalter

‘Addams was hailed as ‘the only saint America has produced’, and a female saint to boot.’