Every ten years, Granta dedicates an issue to the best young British novelists, showcasing the work of twenty writers under forty.
Here we present new work from the authors on the 2023 list, chosen by our panel of judges: Tash Aw, Rachel Cusk, Brian Dillon, Helen Oyeyemi and Sigrid Rausing.
With portraits by Alice Zoo.
Cover image © Donal Sturt, Shiver me timbers., 2019
‘What does the list tell us about the next generation or the state of the nation?’The editor introduces the issue.
‘There’s this paradoxical nostalgia where even though yi suffered, yi miss it.’ Memoir by Graeme Armstrong.
‘I didn’t think she was happy; I thought she was in love, but I didn’t know what that told me, if it told me anything.’Fiction by Jennifer Atkins.
‘She has been ten for a month and she does not like it. She carries the weight of her extra digit like a chain-mail vest.’Fiction by Sara Baume.
‘What needs explaining was that, and it was a funny thing, a very funny thing, I did not speak the language.’An extract from Study for Obedience by Sarah Bernstein.
‘She boils her sentences down to high-sucrose sweeties and calibrates her tone for maximum engagement.’Fiction by Natasha Brown.
‘I knew that Dominic had cheated on me. I couldn’t tell you when, or who, or how many times, but I was certain that he had.’Fiction by Eleanor Catton.
‘I could hear the sea, and I could hear my own name.’Fiction by Eliza Clark.
‘There was to be an exhibition. There were lots of pictures like his, apparently – of waiters, pastry cooks, valets, bellboys.’A story by Tom Crewe.
‘The other islands in the archipelago had their active volcanoes; now we had the men.’An extract from Lauren Aimee Curtis’s forthcoming novel.
‘We were sent to Wakeley Boarding School aged eight for Year Five and stayed on until Year Twenty.’ Fiction by Camilla Grudova.
‘I register that phrase with pleasure, my brother.’Isabella Hammad on migration, mentors and disappointment.
‘The monstrous years of my late teens lay lined up alongside the rest of my life like bullets in a gun.’A story by Sophie Mackintosh.
‘He was grumpy in a way that I enjoyed. It reassured me that he was easily displeased – he was discerning, I thought.’ Fiction by Anna Metcalfe.
‘If Wales win tonight, everything will turn out okay.’Thomas Morris on football, family and financial precarity.
‘I don’t remember his face, nor him as a whole.’Derek Owusu on fathers and family.
‘Without waiting for me she removes her white shirt. Each button a piece of my own spine, undone.’An extract from Mrs S by K Patrick.
‘She rings a tiny cymbal over your body. She says, The experience is finished now.’A story by Yara Rodrigues Fowler.
‘I followed him onto the dancefloor and he put his hands on my hips as if he’d known me for at least an hour.’Fiction by Saba Sams.
‘It dawned on her, the fact sliding ice-cold into her body; now that she had crossed the border into her forties, Alma herself was no longer eligible for the scheme.’An excerpt from Olivia Sudjic’s third novel.
‘Certainly this kind of thing just happened sometimes – it was a glitch, an unfortunate error, and could happen to anyone.’Fiction by Eley Williams.
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