Granta Magazine | The Magazine of New Writing

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First Sentence: Mary O’Donoghue

Mary O’Donoghue

‘It’s the small stuff – and here I mean the odd particulate matter of daily life – that lets me access the sprawl of a place that wasn’t mine but has incrementally become so.’

First Sentence: Eliza Griswold

Eliza Griswold

‘This, of course, was years before anyone knew or cared who Boko Haram was.’

First Sentence: Greg Jackson

Greg Jackson

‘I am being, I believe, about as forthright as I am being coy.’

First Sentence: Molly Brodak

Molly Brodak

‘A name is a single small token of selfhood issued at birth, upon which all the rest of one’s person must be built.’

First Sentence: Anjali Joseph

Anjali Joseph

‘I kept returning to the Beckett stories, a favourite since I came upon them in my late teens.’

First Sentence: Cynthia Ozick

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

Louise Erdrich

‘We live in these places out of necessity, lucky to have them out of the terrible explosion of humanity.’

First Sentence: Mona Simpson

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

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.’

First Sentence: Toh EnJoe

Toh EnJoe

‘I think that the thing called thought can be viewed as rooted in the very real phenomenon of neurons firing.’

First Sentence: Aracelis Girmay

Aracelis Girmay

‘For me, it happens most with early 90s R&B.’

First Sentence: Ann Beattie

Ann Beattie

‘Several times I’ve wanted to title something one thing, but have realized or been persuaded it isn’t a good idea.’

First Sentence: Laura Kasischke

Laura Kasischke

‘There really was a moth I found in a toolbox (not as musical or interesting as ‘strongbox’), alive, in the attic, in that box.’