At a dinner in Atlanta, Georgia, I sat next to a slightly haggard British woman with an unlikely coif of grey ringlets who, having learned about my work, asked, ‘So tell me, then. Which do you find more burdensome: being gay or being depressed?’ I think I mustered a polite answer even as I imagined telling my husband later that his conversation partner could not have been worse than mine. But that was some fifteen years ago, before I began to question the line between identity and illness. Now, I have to admit that being gay and being depressed do have a certain amount broadly in common and a great deal in common in my life. Not because they are comparably ‘burdensome’, but because they have become my topics, both in my life and in my work. Not a day goes by that I don’t have unsolicited correspondence from someone who is depressed and needs help, or from someone who is gay and suffering for it.
2023 Forward Prizes
‘I alone know a running stream
that is recovery partly and dim sweat
of a day-fever’
A poem by Rowan Evans.
‘Humour is a thread we hang onto. It punctures through the fog of guilt.’
Momtaza Mehri in conversation with Warsan Shire.
‘Something shifted in me that night. A small voice in my head said, maybe you can make a way for yourself as a poet here, too.’
Mary Jean Chan in conversation with Andrew McMillan.
Joy and Insecurity in Port-au-Prince
‘There was to be an exhibition. There were lots of pictures like his, apparently – of waiters, pastry cooks, valets, bellboys.’
An essay by Jason Allen-Paisant from Granta 159: What Do You See?
‘I have started to see that nothing is itself’
A poem by Jason Allen-Paisant from Granta 154: I’ve Been Away for a While.