What is travel writing? One of this magazine’s former editors, Bill Buford, described it as ‘pre-eminently a narrative told in the first person, authenticated by lived experience’ – a definition that appeared in Granta’s travel issue of 1984, around the time that the genre reached the height of its post-war literary fashion. Bill might have added that the narrative usually finds its focus in a journey, though not necessarily a long journey. Apsley Cherry-Garrard travelled nearly to the South Pole; George Orwell went to Lancashire.
Top Reads of 2019
Her Left Hand, The Darkness
Alison Smith on the week she spent with Ursula K. Le Guin.
Charlie Parker Plays Bossa Nova
This surreal tale from Haruki Murakami circles a Charlie Parker album that never existed. Translated from the Japanese by Philip Gabriel.
A monastic community persists after a ‘great chaos and collapse’ in this story by the 2018 Nobel Prize for Literature laureate, Olga Tokarczuk. Translated from the Polish by Jennifer Croft
Two poems from Rebecca Tamás’ collection WITCH.
On High Heels and Lotus Feet
Summer Brennan on high heels, foot-binding, and our ongoing performances of gender.