Explore essays and memoir
Travel Notes About Death
‘The first notes I take are about a man who was born, grew up, worked, was married, had a daughter, grew old, and died in the same village.’
The Exorcism of Doctor Escudero
‘His body was like a rock. It wasn’t his. It was like he was possessed.’
Empathy and the New Refugee Crisis
‘What does it take to remind people that you are human?’
Gandhi the Londoner
‘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.
On the Refugee Crisis
‘I imagine that each of my migrant forebears needed a bit of help on each arrival, a bit of human decency’
‘My father has his own language for everything. When I finished my MFA, I was a NINJA: No Income, No Job, No Assets.’
Lagos Must Prosper
21 million people, $91 billion GDP, an ambitious governor whose term is up: Alexis Okeowo on the megacity of Lagos
‘The brain is a bureaucratic organ with an almost neurotic determination to balance its books. To account to the department of logic for terror, it calls on the office of imagination to conjure up a worthy vision.’
‘In Indian media and advertising, young people are mainly being projected as vessels of breathless aspiration.’
A Woman’s Worth
Rajeswari Sunder Rajan on the evolution of feminist judgments in India.
Introduction: The Map Is Not the Territory
‘The pieces in this issue of Granta are all concerned, in one way or another, with the difference between the world as we see it and the world as it actually is, beyond our faulty memories and tired understanding.’
‘Possession takes many forms, and at the heart of it is death and dereliction, invasion and submission.’
Introduction: What Have We Done
‘There is an apocalyptic feeling in the air. I write the day after the news that the IS have blown up parts of the ancient site of Palmyra.’
To Recall, To Praise
‘What would follow for five years was one of my last relationships forged through letters.’
‘After one hundred years, this is what I have: a daguerreotype of her in bridal finery; a few stories told and retold in plantations, kitchens, hospitals, airport lounges.’
Refugees and Europe: The Swedish Exception
‘What would it take to turn the downward spiral of anti-refugee policies around?’
‘He said Love Jihad, or the practice of Muslims seducing Hindu girls with the aim of converting them to Islam, was an existential threat to India.’
‘That single moment’s intensity hasn’t been matched in my life before or since. A woman who I didn’t know has chosen to accept me, in body and mind.’
‘It was her last service, last sacrifice, to a husband who required so much from her throughout their life together. But we could not succeed.’
Bad Luck, Britain
‘It was a wonderful day of high summer in the Stockholm archipelago.’
Best Book of 1901: The Octopus
Rob Magnuson Smith on why Frank Norris' The Octopus is the best book of 1901.
Best Book of 1955: Pedro Páramo
Louise Stern on why Pedro Páramo is the best book of 1955.
‘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.’
‘To the delight of the little kids, who had seen a good deal of killing in their lives, a middle-aged man blew soap bubbles.’
Life and Breasts
‘My reminder of mortality came in early 2010, and I found the narrative that followed raw but completely engrossing. For the present, but only for the present, it is behind me.’
‘There was a time in my life when I lived in hotels. Around this time, the time I did not spend in hotels was time I did not live.’
Best Book of 1984: Amalgamemnon
Joanna Walsh on why Christine Brooke-Rose's Amalgamemnon is the best book of 1984.
Best Book of 1970: The Collected Works of Billy the Kid
Why Michael Ondaatje's The Collected Works of Billy the Kid is the best book of 1970.
A Thousand Splendid Stuns
‘More important than anything else that fateful year was the life-defining transcendence of Peter Gabriel.’