Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

Explore essays and memoir


Bell And Langley

Thomas McMahon

‘He said that new ideas only came to him between these hours, and when they did, they were like recollections of things forgotten. Sometimes he put on his hat and coat at two a. m. and walked ten miles, the way a mourner will do when he is trying to recall the sight of a beloved face.’

Big Money

Dinaw Mengestu

‘In a city as sprawling and as proud of its architectural grandeur as Chicago, such an emphasis on size seemed only fitting.’

Blind Bitter Happiness

Adam Mars-Jones

‘Sheila was both a wanted and an unwanted child.’

Blitzed Beijing

Robert Macfarlane

‘It’s at night that you really notice the dust, because artificial light suddenly makes the fines visible.’

Blood Is Usually Red

Katherine Faw Morris

‘A lot of babies were born in skiffs during storms, their umbilical cords cut with rusty pocketknives.’

Blue Moon

Hiromi Kawakami

‘Rather than death itself, it is the disappearance of traces that seems unbearable and sad. The disappearance of all signs that I existed.’


Leo Mellor

‘A rustle in the bracken; then, almost immediately, a snout and some wiry black hair.’


Hanif Kureishi

‘Bradford, I felt, was a place I had to see for myself, because it seemed that so many important issues, of race, culture, nationalism, and education, were evident in an extremely concentrated way.’


Zaiba Malik

‘I knew I was Pakistani long before I knew I was English, just as I knew I was Muslim long before I knew I was British.’

Brand Leader

Fintan O’Toole

‘It was a clear, uncomplicated space, a brand image, a label that could be stuck on a billion sauce bottles.’

Breaking In

Andrew Motion

‘He dedicated The Less Deceived to her: it was the only collection of poems he dedicated to anyone.‘

Brief Encounters

Richard Murphy

‘The year was 1944. The Germans had started to rain their first flying bombs on England’.

Brodsky’s Room and a Half

Valeria Luiselli

‘It’s enough to sit in silence for the duration of a lighted cigarette in order to be taken over by the life force flourishing among the graves.’

Captain Scott’s Biscuit

Thomas Keneally

‘Those who took anything out of any of the huts could excuse themselves in the belief that they were merely saving a relic from gradual climatic destruction’.

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.’


Andrew O’Hagan

‘Now that everyone lives as if in a movie, we begin to forget that once it was only special people who did.’

Chasing Wolves in the American West

Adam Nicolson

‘It is the wildest part of the American South-West and, in a way, its most beautiful.’

Cheap Intellectuals

Mario Vargas Llosa

‘Europeans want a fictitious Latin America on to which they can project their own desires. They want a Latin America which satisfies a longing for political engagement that is not possible in their own countries.’

Chickens and Eggs

Doris Lessing

‘Twenty-one days it takes to hatch eggs, twenty-one nights, and there sits the great fierce hen who had accepted me as protector and jailer for that time.’

Children of The Wind

Primo Levi

‘Today Kaenunu is largely deserted. On Mahui, on the other hand, it is not unusual for anyone with patience and good vision to catch sight of some atoula.’

Chocolate Empires

Andrew Martin

‘Q: When is a factory not a factory? A: When it’s a chocolate factory.’

Christmas Eve in Uganda

Ryszard Kapuściński

‘In fact, from the moment I spotted Amin, I made a point of neither accelerating nor slowing down – no turning or stopping.’


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?’

Chupa Globo (Globo Sucks)

Sophie Lewis

‘Carnival by stealth: ticketless, leaderless and limitless, a surge of feeling independent of schools, parties, king or queen; a true subversion of the status quo.’

Clive’s Castle

Jan Morris

‘It was an empire, by and large, without ideology.’


David Malouf

‘There was a time, not so long ago, when we saw my Uncle Charles twice each year, at Easter and Christmas’.

Colombia | Snapshot

Jaime Manrique

‘Two obsessions dominated my life during adolescence: to become a writer and to find my true love.’

Coming Down

Ved Mehta

‘I was besieged by family memories.’


Kamran Nazeer

‘Over samosas and pakoras and three different kinds of green chilli chutney, she spoke to us about politics.’

Cynthia Ozick | First Sentence

Cynthia Ozick

‘Some stories begin with an incident, or a set of enigmatic circumstances, or a scene indelibly witnessed, or the relationship of unlike temperaments, or even something as gossamer as a mood. And then there is the kind of story that is rooted in an idea.’

Dear Tyrant

Riccardo Orizio

‘The deposed emperor was in shock. He spent his days playing, at maximum volume, a patriotic record’

Deeper into the Heart of Borneo (Part II)

Redmond O’Hanlon

‘James, resplendent in leopard skin and hornbill feathers, looked even more solemn than is his habit.’


Hilary Mantel

‘When I was very small, small enough to trip every time on the raised kerbstone outside the back door, the dog Victor used to take me for a walk.’

Do I Owe You Something?

Michael Mewshaw

‘In the fall of 1971, Rome enjoyed an unbroken skein of bright crisp mornings and balmy afternoons that stretched on into November’.


Nedžad lbrišimović

‘The whole idea is that Adem is going to prevent the crimes that have already occurred.’

Doctor, Doctor

Sophie Lewis

‘Five months after I moved to Rio de Janeiro, on a Monday at around ten at night while doing the washing up, I managed to cut my hand deeply and bloodily on a chipped plate.’