Granta

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For other uses, see Granta (disambiguation).
Granta
Editor John Freeman
Categories Literary magazine
Frequency Quarterly
Publisher Sigrid Rausing
Total circulation
(2006)
"almost 50,000"[1]
Year founded 1889
First issue Relaunch: 1 September 1979
Country United Kingdom
Based in London
Language English
Website www.granta.com
ISSN 0017-3231

Granta is a literary magazine and publisher in the United Kingdom whose mission centres on its "belief in the power and urgency of the story, both in fiction and non-fiction, and the story’s supreme ability to describe, illuminate and make real."[2] In 2007, The Observer stated: "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."[3]

History[edit]

Granta was founded in 1889 by students at Cambridge University as The Granta, edited by R. C. Lehmann (who later became a major contributor to Punch). It was started as a periodical featuring student politics, badinage and literary efforts. The name, a medieval form of what is today called the River Cam, the river that runs through the town, now belongs to two of that river's tributaries. An early editor of the magazine was R. P. Keigwin, the English cricketer and Danish scholar; in 1912-13 the Editor was the poet, writer and reviewer Edward Shanks.

In this form the magazine had a long and distinguished history. The magazine published juvenilia of several writers who later became well known, including: Geoffrey Gorer, William Empson,[4] Michael Frayn, Ted Hughes, A. A. Milne [5] Sylvia Plath, Bertram Fletcher Robinson, John Simpson, and Stevie Smith.

Rebirth[edit]

During the 1970s the publication, faced with financial difficulties and increasing levels of student apathy, was rescued by a group of interested postgraduates. In 1979, it was successfully relaunched as a magazine of "new writing", with both writers and audience drawn from the world beyond Cambridge. Bill Buford (who wrote Among the Thugs originally as a project for the journal) was the editor for its first 16 years in the new incarnation. Ian Jack succeeded him, editing Granta from 1995 until 2007.

In April 2007, it was announced that Jason Cowley, editor of the Observer Sport Monthly, would succeed Jack as editor in September 2007. Cowley redesigned and relaunched the magazine; he also launched a new website. In September 2008, he left when selected as editor of the New Statesman.

Alex Clark, a former deputy literary editor of The Observer, succeeded him as the first woman editor of Granta.[6] In late May 2009, Clark left the publication[7] and John Freeman, the American editor, took over the magazine.[7]

As of September 2004, Granta's circulation was 46,831.[citation needed]

It publishes, quarterly, a distinctive mix of fiction, personal history, reportage, and inquiring journalism and documentary photography.[citation needed]

Ownership[edit]

In 1994, Rea Hederman, owner of The New York Review of Books, took a controlling stake in the magazine. In October 2005, control of the magazine was bought by Sigrid Rausing.

Granta Books[edit]

Like the magazine, Granta's book publishing imprint puts literary integrity before commerciality. Its stated aim is to publish work that "stimulates, inspires, addresses difficult questions, and examines intriguing periods of history." Owner Sigrid Rausing has been vocal about her goal to maintain these standards for both the magazine and the book imprint, telling the Financial Times, "[Granta] will not publish any books that could not potentially be extracted in the magazine. We use the magazine as a yardstick for our books.... We are no longer going to look at what sells as a sort of argument, because it seemed to me that we were in danger of losing our inventiveness about what we wanted to do.”[8] Authors recently published by Granta Books include Michael Collins, Simon Gray, Anna Funder, Tim Guest, Caspar Henderson and Olga Tokarczuk.

Granta Best of Young British Novelists[edit]

In 1983, Granta (issue #7) published a list of 20 young British novelists as names to watch out for in the future. Since then, the magazine has repeated the recognition of emerging writers in 1993 (issue #43) and in 2003 (issue #81). In 1996 (issue #54), Granta published a similar list of promising young American novelists, which was repeated during 2007 (issue #97). In 2010 Granta issue #113 was devoted to the best young Spanish-language novelists. Many of the selections have been prescient. At least 12 of those identified have subsequently either won or been short-listed for major literary awards such as the Man Booker Prize and Whitbread Prize.

The recognition of Adam Thirlwell[9] and Monica Ali on the 2003 list was controversial, as neither had yet published a novel.[10] Thirlwell's debut novel, Politics, later met with mixed reviews. Ali's Brick Lane was widely praised.[citation needed]

Dan Rhodes contacted others on the 2003 list to try to persuade them to make a joint statement in protest against the Iraq war, which was gaining momentum at the time. Not all the writers responded. Rhodes was so disappointed he considered stopping writing, but has continued.[11]

Granta Best of Young American Novelists[edit]

Granta Best of Young Spanish Language Novelists[edit]

Granta Best of Young Brazilian Novelists[edit]

Recent contributors[edit]

Recent contributors to the magazine include:

Every issue since the relaunch is still in print. Older issues are widely available in used bookstores, as well as directly from the publisher. The publishers state that some of them — Travel (issue 10) and The Family (issue 37), for example — are "significant contributions to the literature of the English language."[citation needed]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Granta: A new chapter at the original literary journal", The Independent, 11 December 2006 (accessed 2 March 2007).
  2. ^ About Granta Magazine.
  3. ^ Simon Garfield, "From student rag to literary riches", The Observer, 30 December 2007.
  4. ^ John Haffenden, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
  5. ^ J. P. C. Roach, 'The University of Cambridge: The modern university (1882-1939)', A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3: The City and University of Cambridge (1959), pp. 266-306. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=66634, and F.A. Rice, The Granta and its contributors, 1889-1914, London: Constable, 1924
  6. ^ Stephen Brook "Granta names Alex Clark as first female editor", The Guardian, 28 May 2008
  7. ^ a b Oliver Luft, "Alex Clark steps down as Granta editor", The Guardian, 29 May 2009
  8. ^ Isabel Berwick, "Lunch with the FT: Sigrid Rausing", The Financial Times, 6 November 2009.
  9. ^ "Lists, lists, lists..." New Writing | Granta Magazine, 19 November 2010.
  10. ^ "Review: Politics by Adam Thirlwell". The Guardian. 30 August 2003. 
  11. ^ 3am Interview: "A SMALL BUT SATISFYING KICK IN BLAIR'S NUTS: AN INTERVIEW WITH DAN RHODES", 3 AM Magazine, July 2003, accessed 14 March 2013

Further reading[edit]

  • The Best of Granta Reportage. Granta Books in association with Penguin Books. 1994. ISBN 978-0-14-014071-2. 

External links[edit]