Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

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A Guide to the City of Beirut

Fawwaz Traboulsi

‘In Beirut, a well reveals layer upon layer, generation after generation, of ruins.’

Arithmetic on the Frontier

Declan Walsh

‘These days the tempest of Taliban violence ripping across the frontier has shaken Peshawar to its core.’

Do Fish Feel Pain?

James Hamilton-Paterson

‘Our mistake in this debate is to think that these issues can be resolved by science and ethics and the passing of nice clear laws’.

Delinquent in Derry

Nik Cohn

‘Across the river, in a Catholic enclave in the Waterside district, there was a disused funeral home in which, three nights a week, at 6d a shot, contraband teen movies could be sat through and sometimes seen, according to the state of the projector.’

The General

Isabel Hilton

‘The kitchen telephone would ring and it would be Gustavo Stroessner, the General's son, bellowing in that strange accent down a fuzzy line from Brazil, like an unruly fictional character nagging for a larger part in the plot.’

LA Women

Douglas Brooker

‘I was bored. That was how it started. Anything I ever did that amounted to anything–or not–has always been the result of being sick of doing something else.’

Jenni Fagan | My Writing Playlist

Jenni Fagan

Best of Young British Novelist Jenni Fagan selects five songs that she loves to write to.

Letter from Wyoming

Brad Watson

‘Before I moved to Wyoming in 2005, I was – like a lot of people outside this region, it turns out – not quite sure just where it was.’

Frank’s Place

Richard Williams

‘Marilyn Monroe spent a couple of nights at the Cal-Neva. Sinatra knew she was in a bad way.’

Kashmir’s Forever War

Basharat Peer

‘Yes, the gun was from Pakistan, but the stones are our own. That is our only weapon against the occupation.’

Seven Days in Syria

Janine di Giovanni

‘I had come to Syria because I wanted to see a country before it tumbled down the rabbit hole of war’

Night

Alice Munro

‘I read books as usual, nobody knew there was a thing the matter with me.’

The Road to Abyei

John Ryle

‘Bor is a long way from Khartoum – more than 700 miles. There were other hostile groups on the way and precious little food.’

Meat Country

J.M. Coetzee

‘What the imagination cannot encompass is death. Death, it says to itself, is the end of pain. Death is a relief.’

The Press Officer

Alvaro Vargas Llosa

‘The threat of Fujimori was well hidden. There was nothing we could do: the die was cast.’

Bulletproof Vest

Maria Venegas

‘Maybe you should consider moving’

Cary Grant’s Suit

Todd McEwen

‘North by Northwest isn't a film about what happens to Cary Grant, it's about what happens to his suit.’

The Error World

Simon Garfield

‘She said that the stamp gave her palpitations.’

When Did I Become a Writer?

Mia Couto

‘I am often asked when I became a writer, and I have taken to not rushing my answer.’

An Escape from Kampala

Wycliffe Kato

‘‘Be brave,’ she said, ‘pull yourself together. What you are about to see is worse than you ever imagined.’ She asked if I knew what Winston Churchill had called Uganda. He had called it the pearl of Africa.’

Medtner

Philip Pullman

‘It feels like being a child in a room where adults are having a deep and passionate conversation about important things’

Cinema’s Invisible Art

Jeremy Sheldon

‘Audiences don’t know somebody sits down and writes a picture.’

The House by the Gallows

Intizar Hussain

‘Along with religion, an unthinking nationalism had become the other god of Pakistan.’

My Father’s Life

Leonard Michaels

‘Six days a week he rose early, dressed, ate breakfast alone, put on his hat, and walked to his barbershop at 207 Henry Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, about half a mile from our apartment.’

New New World

Peter Conrad

‘I left Australia at the age of twenty, carrying with me everything I thought I would need.’

Letters to My Father, Now Dead

Teresa Pàmies

‘I was glad to see General Pavel at your funeral, Father.’

Means of Transport

John Berger

‘Use these photos as means of transport. Ride on them. No passes needed. Go close. Imprudently close. They leave every minute.’

Ann Beattie | First Sentence

Ann Beattie

‘Several times I’ve wanted to title something one thing, but have realized or been persuaded it isn’t a good idea.’

People Don’t Get Depressed in Nigeria

Ike Anya

‘I open the newspaper and the word ‘Nigeria’ catches my eye.’

Chromium

Primo Levi

‘Life is full of customs whose roots can no longer be traced ... but in any event, why were pig's feet obligatory with lentils, and cheese on macaroni?’

Dogfight Over Karachi

Khademul Islam

‘I slowly went down the stairs, feeling my being unspooling.’

Rabih Alameddine | Portrait of My Father

Rabih Alameddine

‘I come from a family that hangs pictures of family on its walls.’

The Writing of ‘Or Shall We Die?’

Ian McEwan

‘There was too the challenge, as I saw it, of writing a singable English, simple and clear, that could express public themes without pomposity and private feelings without bathos.’

How to Fly

John Burnside

‘I flew for the first time when I was nine years old.’

India! The Golden Jubilee: Introduction

Ian Jack

‘I first went to India twenty years ago as a reporter.’