Explore essays and memoir
A Walk to Kobe
‘What I’m talking about is a different sea, and different mountains.’ Haruki Murakami walks to his hometown after the Great Hanshin earthquake of 1995.
Water Has No Enemy
‘The city is a sea that can swallow you at any time, a monster that can lash out without warning, a hell of variables and uncertainties.’
‘The danger with chasing fantasies is that the reality is often so different than the imagination.’
The Two Gardens
‘There are two gardens in my memory. The first was hidden behind the rows of shabby council houses where I grew up.’
Ross Raisin | On Tour
‘I was up at 5.30 this morning, to screaming, and it’s afternoon now and I’m covered in hummus and struggling to muster the energy to remove it from myself.’
Dutch Harbor Nights
‘When one of the fishermen starts belting out ‘All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Out Tonight’, it feels like a prophecy come to life.’
In Cyberspace: a love letter
‘I’m at a cafe table. It doesn’t matter which country. I’ve been travelling for a long time. By train. Nine, ten different countries in thirty days, a couple of nights in each, maybe three at most.’
‘I’m doing my best to survive all this, but sometimes I feel so homesick that words simply empty of meaning.’
How to be Gay and Indian
‘This was supposed to be my great in-your-face coming-out campaign, which I’d fretted over for months beforehand. Had India suddenly lost its conservativeness, turned enlightened, even hip?’
‘It has taken this to make me realize that de-humanizing is not only something that other people do to you. It can be self-inflicted too.’
Remembering Iain M Banks
Stuart Kelly remembers Iain Banks, and assesses the influence he's had on this generation of writers.
I Love This Dirty Town
‘What is hard to miss and impossible not to grieve over is how present-day Shillong has been overwhelmed by the material aspirations of its people.’
Naomi Alderman | My Writing Playlist
Naomi Alderman shares five songs she loves to write to.
Jenni Fagan | My Writing Playlist
Best of Young British Novelist Jenni Fagan selects five songs that she loves to write to.
Helen Oyeyemi | My Writing Playlist
Helen Oyeyemi on what she listens to while writing and editing.
Playing the Odds
‘What, I wonder now, must the texture of my life have been like then, that winning those sort of sums failed to leave even the slightest mark on my memory?’
Rooms That Have Had Their Part
‘Rooms jaundiced by bad lighting, so you wondered, what is ague, and could we have it? Rooms that hummed, a hum you couldn’t quite identify, or that seemed in the end to come from your own head.’
Rachel Seiffert on Naomi Alderman
‘So, to summarise: witty, bold, and delicate too. Oh yes, and supremely able to turn a story.’
Taiye Selasi | My Writing Playlist
Taiye Selasi, one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists, shares a playlist of songs to write to.
Zadie Smith on ‘Just Right’
‘There should be a special term for abandoned stories, and another for the strange limbo in which their occupants live.’
Introduction: Best of Young British Novelists 4
‘We live in unreaderly times, but our belief is that these novelists will be exceptions to the general rule of irrelevance faced by writers today.’
Xiaolu Guo | My Writing Playlist
‘The challenge of flowing in one continuous outpouring of language in a novel is my killer.’
Tahmima Anam | My Writing Playlist
Tahmima Anam shares a playlist of songs to write to.
Mrs de Pelet
‘I see her with her hands cupped in front of her shouting ‘The “O”, ladies, The Vaginal O’ as we read Shakespeare.’
Salman Rushdie on Sunjeev Sahota
‘You open a book by a writer you’ve never heard of and a new voice leaps off the page and makes you listen.’
Forklift Truck Driver Wins Literary Prize!
‘There are two options for the young writer and employment. There is the proper job, whatever it might be – law, advertising, medicine or the default choice for many, academia. Or there’s the menial, rent-paying job.’
Chinua Achebe’s Legacy
‘Who will speak out for us now? Who will ask the hard questions of us and the world that he did?’
Pondlife: A Swimmer’s Journal
‘The water was chilly and sweet – cold enough to stay with me and make me shiver while I did some shopping later.’
In the Shadow of John Ascuaga’s Nugget
‘It would be falsely modest to claim that I appreciate the hot dog on any level beneath that of connoisseur.’
‘The thrill of this film – and it is thrilling – is seeing that understood and played out by actors of incredible skill.’
From the Past Comes the Storms
‘During the hottest months, the thermometer settles in at 100 degrees like a nonagenarian in a rocker – no one can make it move.’
Brazilian Writers Define Betrayal
‘So that was betrayal: in a magical realm, assassins and elves were involved in a conspiracy to overthrow the king. Or something like that.’