Explore essays and memoir
How I Became an SJW
‘I had become a pacifist in the time it took to run between the bedroom and the bathroom of a London flat.’
How I Write My Books
Anne Serre on how she writes. Translated from the French by Mark Hutchinson.
How to Take a Literary Selfie
Sylvie Weil on what it means to take a literary selfie. Translated from the French by Ros Schwartz.
How to Write About Africa
‘Always end your book with Nelson Mandela saying something about rainbows or renaissances. Because you care.’
Ryszard Kapuściński, once the only foreign correspondent for the Polish Press Agency, on the concept of borders.
In Memory of Diana Athill
Granta remembers Diana Athill, celebrating her remarkable career as a writer and editor.
In Search of Beauty: Blackness as a Poem in Saudi Arabia
Sulaiman Addonia on the slow process of rediscovering the beauty of black skin after moving to Saudi Arabia as a child.
Jianan Qian | First Sentence
‘For every witness, history unfolded at some other time, and in some other place.’ Jianan Qian on the first sentence of her story, ‘To the Dogs’.
Julia Armfield | First Sentence
‘A first line is a threat, I think.’ Julia Armfield on the first sentence of her story ‘Longshore Drift’.
Karen Olsson | Notes on Craft
Karen Olsson shares her notes on the craft of writing: ‘Every book is an unsolvable problem, and yet every time I convince myself I’m just on the verge of cracking it.’
‘When I was seeing Kilty (how, even today, the word 'seeing' mesmerizes me), the fact of my blindness was never mentioned, referred to, or alluded to’.
Lauren Aimee Curtis | Notes on Craft
‘I think that if we knew, really understood, the reasons why certain stories take hold of us, we would have no need for fiction at all.’ Lauren Aimee Curtis shares her notes on the craft of writing.
‘I don’t see him staring back at me from the La-Z-Boy, I see me, I see a crystalline image of my own burned-out soul’
Lemons in Winter
‘I wonder why I am always the last to let go. I wonder if there is any amount that will ever be enough.’
Little nothings: Nabokov’s road notes
Elsa Court on why Vladimir Nabokov immersed himself in the all-American world of roadside service stations.
‘Which deaths are tragic and which are not? Who decides what is big and what is little?’
Love After Abuse
Lucia Osborne-Crowley on the complexity of navigating sexuality while recovering from sexual abuse.
Martin Goodman | Notes on Craft
Martin Goodman on why it took him twenty years to write his latest novel, J SS Bach.
Mother and Son:
Life and Fate
‘Nothing made her happier than to sacrifice herself for her son’s happiness.’
Night on Fire
‘I know what’s going to happen and I know that it’s going to be bizarre.’
Nina Leger | Notes on Craft
‘To say nothing about her was the only way to allow her to be everything.’
On High Heels and Lotus Feet
Summer Brennan on high heels, foot-binding, and our ongoing performances of gender.
On Meeting Mrs Obama
‘Michelle’s story, while deeply rooted in the American story, speaks to experiences that are universal.’
Pajtim Statovci | Notes on Craft
‘My childhood was pierced not only by the violence in Kosovo but also by the violence my immigrant family was confronted with in Finland.’
Populism and Humour
‘As reality has grown more absurd, the job of satirists has grown harder.’
Radicalisation in the Digital Age
Marc Weitzmann on how radicalisation happens in the digital age.
‘It was through my mother that I grew more aware of my body as incredibly fraught and problematic.‘