Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

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A Mid-life Crisis

Patrick Süskind

‘Just what exactly is it that belongs together, pray tell? Absolutely nothing!’

A Norwegian Nightmare

Alf Kjetil Walgermo

‘Could we somehow have avoided feeding the killer at our own breast?’

A Note on Shakespeare

Harold Pinter

‘Shakespeare writes of the open wound and, through him, we know it open and know it closed. We tell when it ceases to beat and tell it at its highest peak of fever‘, Harold Pinter in 'A Note on Shakespeare' in Granta 59: France: The Outsider.

A Plausible Portrait

Ted Hodgkinson

‘My friends say I am secretive and devious,’ he wrote in the introduction to Picasso and Dora. ‘They’re right.’

A Plug for Bukowski

Henry Davis

‘There is an American literature that is anti-intellectual, apolitical and anti-social.’

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.’

A Preface to A.H.

Tony Tanner

‘Words can move mountains, but also Nuremberg rallies.’

A Prisoner of the Holy War

Wendell Steavenson

‘Thayr held out. He would not betray his country, he would not betray his leader.’

A question of identity

Dubravka Ugrešić

‘One of the first things a child learns is the sentiment: My country is… And so begins the homeland briefing that lasts from the cradle to the grave.’

A Rationalist in the Jungle

Héctor Abad

‘A pale-faced, near-sighted urbanite like me is nothing less than handicapped in the heart of the jungle.’

A Revolution of Equals

Lana Asfour

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

A Sign of Weakness

Terrence Holt

‘Fast asleep, even comatose, a living body moves.’

A Story for Aesop

John Berger

‘The image impressed me when I set eyes upon it for the first time. It was as if it were already familiar, as if, as a child, I had already seen the same man framed in a doorway.’

A Summer’s Evening in Beijing

Elizabeth Pisani

‘The air is light with the intoxicating fumes of impending martyrdom.’

A Tour of Angola

Ryszard Kapuściński

‘You have to learn how to live with the check-points and to respect their customs, if you want to travel without hindrance and reach your destination alive.’

A Train in Winter

Caroline Moorehead

‘It was clear that not all would, or could, or would choose to, survive.’

A Trip to Syria

David McConnell

‘Several years ago, a friend and I stayed at the one hotel set amid the ruins of Queen Zenobia’s oasis capital, Palmyra, in the Syrian desert.’

A True Afrikaner

Mary Benson

‘What first struck me was his courtesy: it never faltered even when some remark by the prosecutor or an action by the police angered him, hardening the expression in his blue eyes.’

A Vacation From Myself

John Beckman

‘My every next thought took a melancholy detour through drippy forests of humid emotions, often never to return’

A very young Dancer

Todd McEwen

‘I have a snapshot of the two of us: late on a summer afternoon we're playing in an inflatable wading pool.‘

A Voice from the Vault

Benjamin Griffin

‘You ought never to edit except when awake.’

A Walk Through Manchester

Michael Symmons Roberts

‘The rich, tomato red that decorated most of my bedroom – curtains, lampshade, bedspread – and the pale, rinsed-out blue like a milky north-west sky that represented the other side.’

A Walk to Kobe

Haruki Murakami

‘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.

A Warsaw Diary

Ryszard Kapuściński

‘In Poland we read every text as allusive; every situation described - even the most remote in time and space - is immediately applied to Poland.’

A Woman Wronged

Jeremy Seabrook

‘The dead do not leave us alone.’

A.L. Kennedy | First Sentence

A.L. Kennedy

‘I have never seen anyone eat figs in the street and feel I am unsurprised.’

A.L. Kennedy | God and Me

A.L. Kennedy

‘Faith: the greater it is, the more unsupported it must be’

Abbottabad Pastoral

Humera Afridi

‘Until now, I had never experienced a disaster, or witnessed mass suffering and death close up.’

According to Your Will

Naomi Alderman

‘Thank you, God,’ said the boys, ‘for not making me a woman.’ ‘Thank you, God,’ said the girls, ‘for making me according to Your will.’

Actively Portly

Ian Hamilton

‘When Ian Rush was asked to explain his failure to score goals for Juventus he replied that being in Italy was like being in a foreign country.’

Actus Tragicus

Sir John Eliot Gardiner

‘Bach devises an ingenious symmetrical structure to underpin in music the theological division between Law and Gospel. ’

Adam’s Navel

Stephen Jay Gould

‘Since Omphalos is such spectactular nonsense, readers may rightly ask why I choose to discuss it at all. I do so, first of all, because its author was such a serious and fascinating man.’

Afrikaners and the Future

André Brink

‘What is the future of Afrikaners in South Africa?’

After Gandhi

Trevor Fishlock

‘His room is as he left it, furnished with a carpet, a spinning wheel, a low white table, a mattress and cushion.’