Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

Explore essays and memoir


Polling in New York City

Owen Sheers

‘It’s been said more than once during this US presidential campaign that the rest of the world should be allowed a vote as well.’

Emergency Room

Eugene Richards

‘I saw cuts, burns, broken limbs, heart attacks, and then, what's inside the human body.’

Dutch Harbor Nights

Jim Ruland

‘When one of the fishermen starts belting out ‘All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Out Tonight’, it feels like a prophecy come to life.’

God and Me

Lucretia Stewart

‘It’s almost impossible to describe how it feels to believe in God. There really aren’t words elevated enough to explain it.’

Breach Candy

Samanth Subramanian

‘There are clubs like the Breach Candy Club all over the Indian subcontinent: relics of the Raj, institutions that were set up as bolt-holes for the British, where they could retreat to row or swim or play cricket or race horses.’

Key Stroke

Will Self

Striking the keys of the same typewriter that once sat under J.G. Ballard’s fingers, Will Self reimagines the legendary writer’s last days.

The Josser

Nell Stroud

‘When I was ten we moved to the country, to a village called Minety.’

The River Potudan

Andrei Platonov

‘Grass had grown back on the trodden-down dirt tracks of the civil war, because the war had stopped.’

The Seventh Event

Richard Powers

‘Think of mitosis as trillions of slightly near-sighted, plagiarizing students’


Jonathan Raban

‘It began as a vacuum in the atmosphere, far out over the Atlantic. Trying to fill itself, it set up a spinning mass of air, like a plughole sucking water from a bath; but the faster the winds blew, the more the vacuum deepened.’

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.’

The Old Silk Route

Colin Thubron

‘If I had charted the most landlocked spot on earth, the arms of my compass would have intersected here, in China's far northwest.’


Rory Stewart

‘For a Dervish, religion is all about some direct mystical experience of God’.

After Lockerbie

George Rosie

‘I’ve seen many images from the Lockerbie calamity since but none has stayed with me like the picture of Shannon’s pretty, smiling face.’

Keeping it in the family

Saïd Sayrafiezadeh

‘He had abandoned me, after all, when I was nine months old, mostly so that he could devote his time, energy and money to the cause of workers’ revolution.’

An English Exile

Jeremy Seabrook

‘I was never a revolutionary, not really a Marxist.’


Jeffrey Rotter

‘He chopped his way down North La Salle, pared the night air as he strolled along West Eugenie, peeled and julienned until at last he’d reached the dogleg at Sedgwick and Menomonee.’


Oliver Sacks

‘Deprived of continuity, of a quiet, continuous, inner narrative, he is driven to a sort of narrational frenzy: hence his ceaseless tales, his confabulations, his mythomania.’

Introduction: Possession

Sigrid Rausing

‘Possession takes many forms, and at the heart of it is death and dereliction, invasion and submission.’

Be Careful with that Fan

Andre Perry

‘I was stuck in Texas for a month. The days passed like slow-motion films.

Living Goddess

Isabella Tree

‘I longed to know what she was thinking, what she did all day when she wasn’t performing rituals.’

The Many Voices of Africa

John Ryle

‘This is worth remembering: if it were not for Africa we would not be here at all.’

A Place on Earth: Scenes from a War

Anjan Sundaram

Dense forest and formless roads lead Sundaram to the most recent sites of conflict, burnt-out villages where pigs have taken over their former owner’s homes in an ‘inversion of man and beast, of civilization and nature’.

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.’


Ronald Sukenick

‘Most of those released have trouble finding work, some have been suspended with seventy-five per cent pay, and others must now work freelance or get jobs writing for publications like technical journals.’

A Prisoner of the Holy War

Wendell Steavenson

‘Thayr held out. He would not betray his country, he would not betray his leader.’

Deng’s Dogs

Santiago Roncagliolo

‘My earliest memory of Peru is a newspaper photograph from 1980 of dead dogs hanging from lamp posts in downtown Lima.’

The Fixer

Snigdha Poonam

‘In Indian media and advertising, young people are mainly being projected as vessels of breathless aspiration.’

A Brief History of a Musical Failure

Catherine Tice

‘At the end of the piece, there was silence, followed by a sudden thunder of feet and bows on the stands. A thrilling noise.’

Park Life

Rupert Thomson

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

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.’

Mother of the Year

Paul Theroux

‘The words ‘big family’ have the same ring for me as 'savage tribe', and I now know that every big family is savage in its own way.’

Granta in Bulgaria

Ilija Troyanow

‘Leafing through old issues is like marvelling at the showroom of a renowned jeweller.’

Gary Shteyngart | Portrait of My Father

Gary Shteyngart

‘I am fourteen years old and this is the only time I have ever successfully driven a car in my entire life.’

Hero of Tiananmen Square

Orville Schell

‘The spring of 1989 was so apocalyptic that at the time it had seemed unthinkable that the year's events would fade or that China would ever be able to forget them.'