Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

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How to Write about Africa

Binyavanga Wainaina

‘Always end your book with Nelson Mandela saying something about rainbows or renaissances. Because you care.’

Self-Made Man

Mark Gevisser

Mark Gevisser examines the personal, political and social issues of transgender identity in America.

Passport Control

Kwame Dawes

‘I am Ghanaian. This is my legal label. I was born there. It is my inheritance.’

Into the Cosmos

Chloe Aridjis

‘In those fervently atheist times, it wasn’t God or his angelic messengers who would come forth from the sky, but the cosmonaut.’

Outside the Whale

Salman Rushdie

‘For a man as truthful, direct, intelligent, passionate and sane as Orwell, ‘politics’ had come to represent the antithesis of his own world-view.’

A Walk to Kobe

Haruki Murakami

‘What I’m talking about is a different sea, and different mountains.’

Frankenstein’s Mother

Darcey Steinke

‘If pain is what makes others real to us, there was not another human being more real to me than my mother.’

Tommy

Donald Ray Pollock

‘I began working at the Mead Paper Company in Chillicothe, Ohio, in the summer of 1973.’

Scavengers

Adam Johnson

‘I was dying to buy something, anything that would help my wife and children understand the profound surrealism and warped reality I’d experienced on my research trip to North Korea.’

Lavande

Ann Beattie

‘It seemed impossible, but probably everyone marries thinking such a thing impossible.’

How it Ends

Andrew O’Hagan

‘Seagulls murmur overhead, and nip at the banks. You can hear almost nothing.’

One Day I Will Write About This Place

Binyavanga Wainaina

‘We are, it seems, in the middle of nowhere.’

Motley Notes

Ian Jack

‘What was it like to work in such a place?’

Mnemosyne, Teen Taals, and Tottenham Court Road

Russell Hoban

‘Music is a puissant recaller of time past; music is memory's sister and for its very life relies on memory to hold in our minds the passage of sounds through time.’

Jim Magee’s Hill

Pamela Petro

‘No one who’s seen The Hill has been able to describe it to me without visceral discomfort. Actually, no one’s been able to describe it at all.’

The Ambivalent

Paulo Scott

‘Someone once said to him: I never saw a campaign writer with such a vocation for destruction.’

Made in China

Isabel Hilton

‘Visiting a factory was one thing; working in one quite another.’

The Life and Death of a Homosexual

Pierre Clastres

‘There was no sweetness in the air that day: the corpse gave off a terrible stench’.

Interesting if True

Phillip Knightley

‘The end of the war in the Pacific came just before I left school.’

Dear Peter

Simon Armitage & Ted Hughes

An unpublished letter by Ted Hughes, introduced by Simon Armitage. 'It’s reassuring to see a spelling mistake (‘style’ for stile) and I love the maps.'

Mona’s Story

Urvashi Butalia

‘I’m a woman, I’ve always wanted to be one, it’s that simple.’

Look-Alikes

Nadine Gordimer

‘From under the bushes and behind the grandstands they had gone, or someone had found a way to get rid of them overnight; somewhere else.’

Tales Out of School

Kees Beekmans

‘But it seems I’ve said something stupid again, and blasphemous to boot.’

Remission

Adam Mars-Jones

‘There's an awkward interval, when you're ill but not yet conditioned by illness.’

The Meaning of Zombies

Naomi Alderman

‘They’re the interchangeable anonymous people we encounter on our daily commute, those whose humanity we cannot acknowledge.’

Election Night in Nicaragua

Sergio Ramirez

‘There was no room in our dreams for another war.’

Constitutional

Helen Simpson

‘The thing about a circular walk is that you end up where you started’

Baby Clutch

Adam Mars-Jones

‘Endlessly we reformulate our feelings for each other.’

Cold Storage

Oliver Sacks

‘Uncle Toby was alive, but suspended, apparently, in some strange icy stupor.’

Antediluvian

John Biguenet

‘To the inexperienced, hurricane stories always sound like exaggerations.’

The Press Officer

Alvaro Vargas Llosa

‘The threat of Fujimori was well hidden. There was nothing we could do: the die was cast.’

Seven Days in Syria

Janine di Giovanni

‘I had come to Syria because I wanted to see a country before it tumbled down the rabbit hole of war’