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.
Granta 149: Europe: Strangers in the Land, asks what it means to be European now, and touches on the themes of exile, migration and belonging.
‘On scores of trees in the forest, people had hung yellow laminated memorial plaques with the first names and death dates of murdered relatives. My children wandered under the tall pine trees looking for the names Fanny and Leo, to no avail . . . I had the feeling of being, literally, too close to the trees to see the forest.’
– from ‘Maly Trostinets’ by Joseph Leo Koerner.
‘Self-imposed exile is hard to explain to yourself, let alone to others. It does involve a geographical displacement, a physical separation from language, culture, familiarity. But more than that it is a feeling you cannot shed: a sense of being only partly present.’
– from ‘Exile’ by Elif Shafak.
Essays and memoir: Katherine Angel, William Atkins, Tash Aw, Melitta Breznik, Lara Feigel, Joseph Leo Koerner, Andrew Miller, Ulf Karl Olov Nilsson, Elif Shafak, Adam Weymouth.
Fiction: Anne Carson, Caroline Albertine Minor, Antonio Munoz Molina.
Poetry: Ken Babstock, Colin Herd, Peter Mishler.
Photography: Bruno Fert and Nicola Lo Calzo, introduced by Nam Le and Daisy Lafarge.
Plus: Marie Darrieussecq, Laurent Gaude, Alicja Gescinska, Romesh Gunesekera, Michael Hofmann, Srecko Horvat, Tom McCarthy, Orhan Pamuk, Jacqueline Rose, Ludmila Ulitskaya.