Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

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We Went to Saigon

Tia Wallman

‘I thought that this must be the sort of plane that crashes. What were a few more dead, travelling to the city of the dead?’

How to Write about Africa

Binyavanga Wainaina

‘Always end your book with Nelson Mandela saying something about rainbows or renaissances. Because you care.’

Joburg

Ivan Vladislavić

‘When a house has been alarmed, it becomes explosive.’

The Merry Widow

Edmund White

’She met my father in Texas and then they moved north, where I was born in Cincinnati.‘

King’s Girls

Lindsay Watson

‘The effeteness of a small number of King's students was fascinating to me at first, then repellent, and before long completely uninteresting. They dressed in peculiar clothes, talked in silly voices and appeared to me to be living caricatures of the human race. At times I longed for some familiar ordinariness and found it with boys from other colleges who introduced me to football and pool and pubs.’

Seminarians

Marcos Villatoro

‘The seminary building, parked smack in the middle of the campus, looked west to Davis Hall (women), south to another women's dorm building, and east to the vocationless, unharnessed men of Beast Hall. What did they expect, with so many earthly reminders of flesh around us? Out of the fourteen young men who discerned the call, few, very few, made it to ordination.’

Frank’s Place

Richard Williams

‘Marilyn Monroe spent a couple of nights at the Cal-Neva. Sinatra knew she was in a bad way.’

Persian Love

Alan Warner

‘It is 6:22 of what beauty and life's joy there is to extract’

Diego Garcia

Simon Winchester

‘How do you persuade a thousand dogs to walk into a fire? How do you persuade them, as it were, to commit suttee?’.

Shrinks

Edmund White

‘Did the Rorschach lay bare my essence or my becoming? Was I becoming better or worse?’

The Last Eighteen Drops

Vitali Vitaliev

‘Drinking vodka is just a memory for me now. Vodka was hurting me .’

The Romanovs Come to Stay

Frances Welch

‘When I was a child I seemed to live in a fog of inattention which cleared only when I was alone.’

Naples is Closed

Barry Unsworth

‘Naples had always been high on the list of places I wanted to visit‘.

Maori War

Peter Walker

‘It would be hard to overstate the importance of genealogy in Maori society.’

Pariah

Viramma

‘All my children have been buried where they died’

The Last Post

Simon Winchester

‘It is the roar, however, that is most magnificent and daunting’

The Case Against Babies

Joy Williams

‘Babies, babies, babies. There’s a plague of babies.’

Here Come the Tanks

Patrick Wright

‘In these civilian circumstances, unhampered by any opposition from aircraft, landmines, artillery or other tanks, the tank seems unstoppable.’

The Sins of the Flesh

Margaret Visser

‘The message that vegetarianism imparts to the rest of us is ascetic and exclusive.’

The Coral Reef

Tran Vu

'"So, our last night of socialism," Dzung said as he squatted down beside me. I pulled two cigarettes out of my pocket and handed one to him, but didn't reply.'

Liberation Day

Christa Wolf

‘The world stubbornly refused to end and we were not prepared to cope with a world that refused to end.’

Zagreb

Dubravka Ugrešić

‘‘We’ll print your book if you bring us 140 kilos of paper,’ says my friend, a publisher. ‘Where can I find 140 kilos of paper?’ ‘I don’t know. That’s your problem, you’re the writer.’’

An Afghanistan Picture Show

William T. Vollmann

‘The windbreakers of the passengers standing at the rail fluttered violently.’

Soundings

Abraham Verghese

‘On the first day of June, 1972, I was taught how to percuss the body.’

Field Burning

William Wharton

‘I thought after what had happened to us in the past twenty-four hours I’d never be scared to die again, but I am.’

Waterway

Geoffrey Wolff

‘Six months unwinding, bristling with pitfalls and Sirens and drug dealers and drug agents and anxiety and shoals and snags and reefs and the worst gear-busting winter winds ever recorded in the southern Bahamas.’

Saigon Dreaming

Tela Zasloff

‘In the summer of 1964, when we arrived in Saigon, our house belonged to the United States military, whose cheerful Vietnamese employees moved us in.’

Fortune

Tobias Wolff

‘We’d left Sarasota in the dead of summer, right after my tenth birthday, and headed west under low flickering skies that turned black and exploded and cleared just long enough to leave the air gauzy with steam.’

Cricket in Samoa

Gavin Young

‘Balls flew towards the beach or into dense jungle. Enthusiastic young fielders tumbled head over heels in the morning glories. Village elders, large, heavy-breasted, critical men, lay in the shade on cushions discussing the course of play like contented sea lions on their favourite rocks.’

Getting The Words Out

John Updike

‘No, it is not confrontation but some wish to avoid it, some hasty wish to please, that betrays my flow of speech.’

Italo Calvino

John Updike

‘Post-modernism, if it can be said to exist at all, had in Calvino its most seductive showman.’

Notes from New York

James Wolcott

‘Now and then it can appear that an entire magazine is opening up the silks, searching for a soft place to land.’

Notes from Italy

William Weaver

‘It was easy to meet people, especially if you were a wide-eyed American and spoke Italian. The literary world was particularly accessible, for all the intellectuals wanted to know about the States.’

New York

James Wolcott

‘Shiny and bright and compact, 'Heartburn’ whirrs along, not so much a novel as an appliance - an appliance whose inner workings are on the fritz.’

The Aesthetics of Resistance

Peter Weiss

‘His whole life, he had declared while still at work on this painting, was nothing less than a continual struggle against the backwardness of thought and the killing of art.’