Explore essays and memoir
My Chess Teacher
‘The environment, however, wasn’t a hostile one. Though it was filled with the strangest guys in town, they were only there to play.’
Striking the keys of the same typewriter that once sat under J.G. Ballard’s fingers, Will Self reimagines the legendary writer’s last days.
Mark Gevisser examines the personal, political and social issues of transgender identity in America.
A Place on Earth: Scenes from a War
Dense forest and formless roads lead Sundaram to the most recent sites of conflict, burnt-out villages where pigs have taken over their former owner’s homes in an ‘inversion of man and beast, of civilization and nature’.
In the Shadow of the Hospital
‘All that yearning spilling down amid the treetops and roof ridges, a shadow I’d never properly considered before.’
‘My curiosity about lesbianism was an accomplice of my feminism: a path that allowed me to be sexual and free.’
‘I longed to know what she was thinking, what she did all day when she wasn’t performing rituals.’
‘At forty, I think the world leads to the body. Besides, laid out on a stretcher, you are your only home’ .
L.A. Diary: Notes from a Mexikorean Country
‘I was reassured to see that my hotel does not resemble the one in The Shining.’
‘If pain is what makes others real to us, there was not another human being more real to me than my mother.’
The Question of Fate
‘The possibility that I’d unwittingly tapped into her fate and used it as fuel for a story sickened me’
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.’
First Sentence: Louise Erdrich
‘We live in these places out of necessity, lucky to have them out of the terrible explosion of humanity.’
Blood Is Usually Red
‘A lot of babies were born in skiffs during storms, their umbilical cords cut with rusty pocketknives.’
First Sentence: Mona Simpson
‘A year later, still in third person, I’d taken five days off my character’s long wait. I’d moved to present tense, though, for more immediacy.’
First Sentence: Melinda Moustakis
‘We all would like to think that with one line, one brush, we could make a reader fall madly in love, and there are writers that illicit such a response with the appropriately gorgeous.’
Thing with Feathers that Perches in the Soul
‘It has to be love, doesn’t it? In however many of its infinite permutations?’
‘When he stepped into the cage he was doing battle with a disease. The disease was the feeling of powerlessness that takes hold of even the most powerful.’
‘I walk out of the theatre in a daze. I’ve glimpsed something. But a glimpse, as it turns out, is not enough.’
Chasing Wolves in the American West
‘It is the wildest part of the American South-West and, in a way, its most beautiful.’
Be Careful with that Fan
‘She would have slapped the both of us had she heard the words coming out of our mouths.’
‘Someone once said to him: I never saw a campaign writer with such a vocation for destruction.’
Three Football Books
Three Granta contributors introduce their favourite books about football.
First Sentence: Toh EnJoe
‘I think that the thing called thought can be viewed as rooted in the very real phenomenon of neurons firing.’