Issue 1 - New American Writing
Granta plays an integral part in the history of literature in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1889 by students of Cambridge University, the magazine featured authors like A.A. Milne, Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, before being relaunched in 1979 as the literary quarterly it is today.
In its early years, Granta introduced what are now thought to be the staples of the British literary landscape, publishing multiple issues that developed the genres of Travel and Nature writing. It also coined a new literary genre in its issues on ‘Dirty Realism’. In the 1980s, Granta was the only venue running hitherto-unknown voices in American fiction – many of them now Nobel Prize winners and Guggenheim fellows – and was this country’s leading publisher of long-form investigative journalism. Granta broke news about the Snap Revolution in the Philippines, the Killing Fields of Cambodia, and life in Saigon after the end of the Vietnam war – with writing by world-famous correspondents like Martha Gellhorn, James Fenton, Svetlana Alexievich and Ryszard Kapuściński.
With the launch of its much-imitated Best of Young British Novelists issue in 1983, released decade by decade, Granta forecast the most important voices of each generation of writers – first in Britain, then in America, and now in Brazil and Spain. These lists continue to define the contours of the literary landscape to this day. As the Observer writes: ‘In its blend of memoirs and photojournalism, and in its championing of contemporary realist fiction, Granta has its face pressed firmly against the window, determined to witness the world.’
The myriad of esteemed contributors to Granta over the years include Margaret Atwood, Julian Barnes, Zadie Smith and Don DeLillo, offering a treasure trove of inspiration and commentary for students of literature.
‘There must be ways to organise the world with language.’
– Pwaangulongii Dauod
The English language is like London, a cluster of myriad villages, each with its own atmosphere and particular cadences. This issue – our
150th – celebrates language, showcasing some of the most inventive writers of fiction today.
Sidik Fofana ‘The Young Entrepreneurs of Miss Bristol’s Front Porch’
Amy Leach ‘How to Count Like a Pro’
Mazen Maarouf ‘The Story of Anya’
Carmen Maria Machado ‘The Lost Performance of the High Priestess
of the Temple of Horror’
Tommi Parrish ‘An Instrument of Pure Motion’
Che Yeun ‘Yena’
Michael Collins chronicles his mother’s life following a series of strokes, Oliver Bullough on shell companies in the British Virgin Islands, Andrew O’Hagan visits Carolyn, Neal Cassady’s widow.
Plus: Pwaangulongii Dauod’s eulogy for the late Kenyan writer Binyavanga Wainaina.
Poetry: Jack Underwood and Jay G. Ying