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Before They Began to Shrink

Nic Dunlop

‘The numbers killed at Aughrim that day will never be known.’

Mother and Father

Thomas Kilroy

‘Like most wars, this was a war of the young.’ Thomas Kilroy on his parents’ experience of the Anglo-Irish War and the Irish civil war.

Shifting Ground

Una Mullally

‘Living in the only democratic country in the world with a constitutional ban on abortion, I felt an acute and visceral shame.’

Blue Hills and Chalk Bones

Sinéad Gleeson

‘One day, something changes; a corporeal blip. For me, it happened in the months after turning thirteen: the synovial fluid in my left hip began to evaporate like rain.’

Republicans

James Pogue

‘This American says he’s heard of Cross but that he’s still just passing through.’ He laughed and formed the shape of a pistol with his right hand. ‘Well you heard that part, didn’t ya? That is one thing that will never change here.’

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.’

On Shakespeare and the Quest for Belonging

Minal Hajratwala

‘We may not belong to Shakespeare, nor he to us, ever.’

Shakespeare for Children

Sarah Moss

‘I can’t think, my mother said as we sat down, why people think a play that’s all about unsanctioned sexual desire is suitable for little girls.’

Cracking Up

Kevin Breathnach

‘It has been several weeks since I slept for more than an hour, and lately I’ve been feeling on the verge of cracking up.’

Introduction

Sigrid Rausing

‘But Ireland is Ireland. It resists and relishes its own national images in equal measure.’

The Raingod’s Green, Dark as Passion

Kevin Barry

‘If cities are sexed, as Jan Morris believes, then Cork is a male place. Personified further, I would cast him as low-sized, disputatious and stoutly built, a hard-to-knock-over type.’

The Mask of Night

Lorna Gibb

‘I puzzled over the language but disentangled its meaning slowly, carefully, eager to connect’ Lorna Gibb on Shakespeare’s Juliet.