Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

Explore essays and memoir


Chinua Achebe’s Legacy

Ike Anya

‘Who will speak out for us now? Who will ask the hard questions of us and the world that he did?’

A Poet in Cuba

Reinaldo Arenas

‘Perfect totalitarian systems have always been in the vanguard: they modify not only the past and the future, but they also abolish the present.’

Chloe Aridjis | Portrait of My Father

Chloe Aridjis

‘My father has always said that he was born twice.’

Into the Cosmos

Chloe Aridjis

‘In those fervently atheist times, it wasn’t God or his angelic messengers who would come forth from the sky, but the cosmonaut.’


Chloe Aridjis

‘Yet the little white disks with a dent down the middle are no panacea; whenever I take one of these thought guillotines I feel trapped in a grey zone’.

Northern Soul

Simon Armitage

‘I live on the border, between two states. I've lived here all my life, just about, and I know this place like the back of my hand’.

The Borderlands

Neal Ascherson

‘Here is the forest. Not just a forest, but a puszcza: a Polish word that means a world of trees which have never been felled since the first bands of human beings arrived to hunt here.’

Beirut | Dispatches

Lana Asfour

‘I was determined that this latest crisis wouldn’t keep me out of the country of my birth.’

A Feudal Outpost in Mount Lebanon

Lana Asfour

‘Intelligent, unpredictable, occasionally ruthless, Jumblatt shows that he is still very much in the game.’

A Revolution of Equals

Lana Asfour

‘Women have rights and we’re not going to lose them now.’

Golden Kids Comeback

Timothy Garton Ash

'Hips. Some never have them. Most have them but lose them. A few have them and keep them.'

The Visit

Timothy Garton Ash

‘His language is a little stiff, polit-bureaucratic, but very far from being just ideological gobbledygook. Through it come glimpses of a real political intelligence, a man who knows about power.’

Warsaw Notebook

Timothy Garton Ash

‘Underground groups are called ‘structures’. Some people offer friends the service of their ‘structures’. This makes them important. Then it turns out the structures don't exist.’

Under Eastern Eyes

Timothy Garton Ash

‘They sit around, feet in slippers, drinking wine and swapping jokes about Chernobyl. They have just produced the best journal of new writing in Czechoslovakia. It took about twenty minutes.’

Notes from East Germany

Timothy Garton Ash

‘Like previous re-settlers, the East Germans now living in the West produced works in what I call the ‘Owl of Minerva’ school of literature. As the Owl of Minerva flies at dusk, so they, in flight from the system, made their reckoning with it.’

Our Mother’s New Man

Andrea Ashworth

‘To keep her eye on the cost, our mother set the clockwork oven-timer ticking when she picked up the phone.’

Nadeem Aslam | God and Me

Nadeem Aslam

‘I loved—and continue to love—the pages of certain copies of the Qur’an.’

Where to Begin

Nadeem Aslam

‘Pages five, six and seven make her into a Pakistani, but for the first four pages she is nothing but a human being.’

Somewhere Towards the End

Diana Athill

‘We knew that we would give each other no trouble.’

God and Me

Diana Athill

‘Perhaps it’s just that the human mind is incapable of imagining anything that doesn’t begin.’

Alive, Alive-Oh!

Diana Athill

‘She thought of herself as a rational woman, but while she could sleep alone in an empty house for night after night without worrying, there were other nights when her nerves twitched like a rabbit's at the least sound.’

Starting Out in Chicago

James Atlas

‘Dangling Man was his M.A., Bellow liked to say; The Victim was his Ph.D.‘

It Don’t Mean a Thing

Paul Auster

‘The single inhabitant of an asteroid that orbits around a tertiary moon of Pluto, visible only through the strongest telescope.’

The Red Notebook

Paul Auster

‘In 1973 I was offered a job as caretaker of a farmhouse in the south of France.’

Your Birthday Has Come and Gone

Paul Auster

‘For the first time in all the years you had known her, she sounded deranged.’

You Remember the Planes

Paul Auster

‘You can’t remember the precise moment when you understood that you were a Jew.’

Look East, Look to the Future

Tash Aw

‘It was as if he was consciously trying to fashion an image for what he wanted the country to be: ultra-confident and unapologetic, not just severing all links with our colonial past but sticking a bold middle finger up to it while we strode chest-out into the future.’

Heart and Soul in Every Stitch

Tash Aw

‘Where wealth and technology go, culture quickly follows, and soon it became acceptable, even desirable, to express an interest in Japan beyond the mere practicality offered by its products.’

Anthony Bailey | A London View

Anthony Bailey

I come from a generation which still, fifty-odd years on, looks up and once in a while thinks, 'Good, one of ours.'

Funny Noises with our Mouths

Beryl Bainbridge

‘If we went out to tea in Southport and my mother left a tip under the plate, my grandmother used to pick it up and slide it into her handbag.’

La Mer

Nicholson Baker

‘I heard Debussy's side-slipping water-slopes, with cold spray blown off their crests’

Resist: A Letter from Greece

Natalie Bakopoulos

‘This June, I arrived in Athens just in time for a strike that had halted the metro from the airport to the city.’

The Mission

Tom Bamforth

‘It is strange, the rituals we find ourselves carrying out before the unknown.’

Lost and Found

Je Banach

‘And yet, despite the overwhelming evidence of Lamb’s influence on contemporary writing, the nineteenth-century superstar has been largely ignored and mostly forgotten.’

Little Durga

Shampa Banerjee

‘I groaned inwardly when anybody mentioned Pather Panchali and my small part in it.’

What Bengali Widows Cannot Eat

Chitrita Banerji

‘Spring in Bengal is teasing and elusive, secret yet palpable, waiting to be discovered.’