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 2020
Qualities of Earth
‘The slutty ingenuity of vegetables when it comes to desire and reproductive methods is a marvel.’
Rebecca May Johnson negotiates allotment culture.
The Second Career of Michael Riegels
‘Globalisation is incomplete: money can go anywhere, but laws cannot.’
Oliver Bullough on one of Britain’s most contested outposts: the British Virgin Islands.
Learning to Sing
‘You discover during your very first lessons that the problem of singing better involves overcoming many other problems you had not ever imagined.’
A new story from Lydia Davis.
‘She began to count; it was easier this way, counting, because she would not have to remember how she felt.’
An excerpt from Ukamaka Olisakwe’s Ogadinma.
‘Like any desert, I learn myself by what’s desired of me—
and I am demoned by those desires.’
From Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz.