Explore essays and memoir
The Canvas Bag
‘It was given to her by her Japanese captors after the Fall of Singapore on 15 February 1942 to pack the few possessions she was allowed to take with her to prison.’
I Will Never See the World Again
‘I was in a cage because a man had eaten an apple.’ Translated from the Turkish by Yasemin Çongar.
Jack Losh reports from rebel-held Bria in the Central African Republic, where fighting has forced thousands into a displacement camp.
Mariana Enríquez | Notes on Craft
‘I found a way to speak: the women talked for me’ Translated by Josie Mitchell.
Bohemian Rhapsody in Five Acts
Tiffany Murray on living with Freddie Mercury as a child.
Ali Fitzgerald | Notes on Craft
Notes on crafting a graphic memoir from Ali Fitzgerald.
‘Rihanna had cut her hair short, and she was no longer being marketed as the Caribbean Beyoncé.’
I’m Black So You Don’t Have to Be
'Can the black author really write out of her or his colour? In writing about black characters can they ever escape race?' Colin Grant looks at the evolution of racial politics.
‘My blood is on its way to becoming something that even when given for free can be brokered and sold like ingots or wheat.’
Writing Like Degas Paints
Sulaiman Addonia on how Edgar Degas’s nude portraits inspired his latest novel, Silence Is My Mother Tongue.
Lucia Berlin Writes Home
Nina Ellis on the life and writing of Lucia Berlin. ‘If Berlin's collections were houses, their hallways would change direction without warning, and their rooms would be bright and dark at the same time.’
‘I’m nervous at night when I take off my leg. I wait until the last moment before sleep to un-tech because I am a woman who lives alone’
Breasts: A History
‘My breasts are shrinking. As my fat redistributes it settles in my belly and leaves my chest.’
Masculinity Is Leaving The Male Body
‘If we’re gonna imagine this beautiful queer paradise what form does a man take?’ – Seabright D. Mortimer on constructing masculine identity in genderqueer spaces.
Of Donuts I Have Loved
‘Krispy Kremes melt at the touch, are tender and loving, are used by my family to perform a wholeness we do not always feel’
Paul Dalla Rosa | Notes on Craft
‘I feel like I’m haunting an empty building, inert, waiting for each room to burst into flames.’
‘I again told him I wasn’t ready to have sex, and his only response was to lean in and kiss me. The hallway in which we walked seemed to be shrinking, closing in on us.’ – April Ayers Lawson on intimacy after sexual abuse.
A Few Words about Fake Breasts
‘You repeat this over and over. You pinch your nipples harder. Then harder and harder still. You twist them. You dare them to say Mercy. You stare into your own eyes that are watching you from the mirror.’
A Summer of Japanese Literature
From manga to crime fiction, contemporary literature to Nobel-Prize-winning classics, here are ten works of Japanese literature worth spending your summer on
Murasaki’s Paper Trail
Martin Puchner on how Murasaki Shikibu, a lady-in-waiting at the Japanese court, manage to write the first great novel of world literature.
Fred Pearce | Notes on Craft
‘For a hack like me, book-length meta-journalism is both a luxury and a challenge. I cannot hide my own views over 100,000 words, even if I want to.’
Editor and publisher Sigrid Rausing introduces Granta 144: genericlovestory.
I Bite My Friends
‘The Easter Parade is winding down, when I spot Him. Her. Them. The Apparition.’
On Paris Hilton and Other Undead Things
‘What sex tapes offer, on a hauntological level, is an impossible closeness to that which is neither dead nor alive.’
Telling My Story
‘I wonder if they could all smell the queer on me, the queer in me, the burgeoning sexuality that I had no words for at the time.’
‘Silence allows me to pretend that this happened to someone else a long time ago, and not to me.’
See What You Do to Me
‘My intention was to protect myself, and not to have to go back on my word.’
‘Part of what made him interesting was that I felt he would dismiss me the moment I bored him.’
What Do Women Want?
‘What we’re arguing about turns out to be how to speak to each other at all.’