Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

Explore essays and memoir


Blackmore’s Tart

Tony Gould

‘I remember puberty as a time of purgatory.’

Bogotá, Colombia

Roger Garfitt

‘Driving along la Séptima, the main road into the centre of Bogotá, we find ourselves blocked by a high-speed convoy.’

Bone Litter

Marian Botsford Fraser

‘'Hey, I saw an Inuk once with a hat that said: INSTANT ASSHOLE. JUST ADD ALCOHOL'.’

Borges and Me, and Me

Rodrigo Fresán

‘What would be the point of writing anything if I went down in history as the person who killed Borges?’


Philip Hensher

‘So there is music and music. It is not easy, after all.’


Sue Halpern

‘Water curls through the Fortaleza slum: sewer water. It drains between shacks made of sticks and mud, and is pretty when it catches the sun’.

Brazilian Diary

Cynan Jones

‘It’s quite a phone call to get: ‘Will you go to Brazil for us?’’


Sousa Jamba

'Please, do whatever you can to help me get out of here'.

Burying the Bones

Orlando Figes

’There are times when every nation needs to think a little less about its history.‘


David Grossman

‘Cairo empties you instantly, leaving only eyes and ears and nose.’

Cambodia and Someth May

James Fenton

‘When I first saw the draft of the piece which follows, I realized that the book he was writing had reached an essential stage of articulacy.’

Chuckle or Gasp: a Note on the Work of Leonard Michaels

Marc Granetz

‘The best writers are known by their voices’.


Peregrine Hodson

‘The thought of selling the shares seems disrespectful, like burning the letters of the dead. However, the market has been softening over the last two months and people are beginning to say that the bull market is over.’

Cuba Revisited

Martha Gellhorn

‘I drove around Havana, sightseeing, half-curious, and wholly sick of the miserable weather.’

Dear Adolf

Will Hobson

‘The most beautiful thing for me is to be allowed to write: Dear Führer.’


Michael Ignatieff

‘Memory is what reconciles us to the future. Because she has no past, her future rushes towards her, a bat's wing brushing against her face in the dark.’

Dividing the Kingdom

Pico Iyer

‘I get on the train to hear the funereal call of my boyhood: ‘Reading, Didcot Parkway, Oxford.’’

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’.

Dogfight Over Karachi

Khademul Islam

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

Doing the Paperwork: Life in the aftermath of a violent death

David Goldblatt

‘If the pressure of their life didn’t kill her it made the fight too hard.’

Don’t Cry for Gazza

Ian Hamilton

‘‘Who is Gazza?’ asked Mr Justice Harman in the High Court in September 1990.’

Dreams of Reason

Ruth Franklin

‘We know that nightmares are unreal, yet they torment us all the same.’

Dry Flowers from the Cerrado

Milton Hatoum

‘People say that Brasilia’s new national library opened before it had any books. Is that a metaphor for many politicians’ minds? Or for these times we’re in?’

Easter Island Noodles Almondine

Thom Jones

‘I grew up in a factory town, Aurora, Illinois, some forty miles west of Chicago.’


Mark Gevisser

‘The city was also a place of possibility and even, paradoxically, liberation.’

El Salvador: An Aide-Mémoire

Carolyn Forché

‘Between 1978 and 1981 I travelled between the United States and Salvador, writing reports on the war waiting to happen, drawing blueprints from memory, naming the dead.’

False Accounting

Nuruddin Farah

‘That's what money does to one: makes one suspicious.’

Family Album

Mikal Gilmore

‘I am the brother of a man who murdered innocent men.’

Feeding the Fire: The Political Context of 9/11

Adam Haslett

‘9/11 was the bullet to the powder keg of an already heated domestic conflict.’

Fifteen Lashes

Anwar Iqbal

‘I was an apprentice newspaper reporter when General Zia ul-Haq came to power in Pakistan in the military coup of 1977.’

Finally Fit

Ian Hamilton

‘By eight-thirty, the rain was sheeting down, and the thunder and lightning seemed to be directly overhead. The police dogs around the track began to bark. Were lions whelping in the street? Had Gazza been too saucy with the gods?’

Finding Nusrat

Janine di Giovanni

‘We sat for sometime, and I found after a while that there was little I could say.’

Finished With Engines

Ian Jack

‘My father wrote a kind of autobiography in the years before he died.’

First Catch Your Puffin

Sean French

‘A man is rescued after years stranded on a desert island with two companions, one of whom died.’

First Story

William Fiennes

‘We talked a lot about voice – the idea that everyone has a voice, their own voice, and this is something to be valued and celebrated.’

Flowers Appear on the Earth

Samantha Harvey

‘In their deepest sorrow the islanders buried the ashes of their forty-six dead’