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Granta 142
EditorThomas Meaney
CategoriesLiterary magazine
PublisherSigrid Rausing
Total circulation
Founded1889; 135 years ago (1889)
First issueRelaunch: 1 September 1979
CountryUnited Kingdom
Based inLondon

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."[1] 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."[2]

Granta has published twenty-seven laureates of the Nobel Prize in Literature.[1] Literature published by Granta regularly win prizes such as the Forward Prize, T. S. Eliot Prize, Pushcart Prize and more.[3]


Granta was founded in 1889[4] 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 title was taken from the River Granta, the medieval name for the Cam,[5] the river which runs through the city but is now used only for that river's upper reaches. 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.[6]

In this form the magazine had a long and distinguished history. The magazine published juvenilia of a number of writers who later became well known: Geoffrey Gorer, William Empson,[7] Michael Frayn, Ted Hughes, A. A. Milne,[8] Sylvia Plath, Bertram Fletcher Robinson, John Simpson, and Stevie Smith.


During the 1970s the publication, faced with financial difficulties and increasing levels of student apathy,[6] was rescued by a group of interested postgraduates, including writer and producer Jonathan Levi, journalist Bill Buford, and Peter de Bolla (now Professor of Cultural History and Aesthetics at Cambridge University). In 1979, it was successfully relaunched as a magazine of "new writing",[9] with both writers and audience drawn from the world beyond Cambridge. The magazine's first issue as a national publication was entitled "New American Writing".[10] 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. During this time the staff included Richard Rayner and the novelist Carole Morin. Ian Jack succeeded Buford, editing Granta from 1995 until 2007.[11]

Since 2003, Granta has been published in Spain in Spanish.[12][13] 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 after having been selected as editor of the New Statesman.[14]

Alex Clark, a former deputy literary editor of The Observer, succeeded him as the first female editor of Granta.[15] In late May 2009, Clark left the publication[16] and John Freeman, the American editor, took over the magazine.[16]

As of 2023, Granta's circulation is 23,000.[17] In the 164th issue Sigrid Rausing, who had served as editor since 2013, announced she would turn over editorship to Thomas Meaney with the Autumn issue of 2023.[18]


In 1994, Rea Hederman, owner of The New York Review of Books, took a controlling stake in the magazine.[19] In October 2005, control of the magazine was bought by Sigrid Rausing.[20]

Granta Books[edit]

In 1989, then-editor Buford founded Granta Books.[21] Granta's stated aim for its book publishing imprint 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."[22] Authors recently published by Granta Books include Michael Collins, Simon Gray, Anna Funder, Tim Guest, Caspar Henderson, Louise Stern and Olga Tokarczuk.[citation needed]

When Rausing purchased Granta, she brought with her the publishing imprint Portobello Books, founded in 2005; as of January 2019 the Portobello Books imprint was closed, with all its contracted authors therefter published under the Granta Books imprint.[23] Granta Books are distributed by The Book Service in the UK.[24] Granta Books are distributed by Ingram Publisher Services in the US.[25]

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 its recognition of emerging writers in 1993 (issue #43), 2003 (issue #81) and 2013 (issue #123). 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 Booker Prize and Whitbread Prize.[citation needed]

The recognition of Adam Thirlwell[26] and Monica Ali on the 2003 list was controversial, as neither had yet published a novel.[27] Thirlwell's debut novel, Politics, later met with mixed reviews. Ali's Brick Lane was widely praised.[citation needed] Those controversially excluded in 2003 included Giles Foden, Alex Garland, Niall Griffiths, Zoë Heller, Tobias Hill, Jon McGregor (who won the International Dublin Literary Award less than ten years later), Patrick Neate, Maggie O'Farrell and Rebecca Smith.[28]

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.[29]

In 2023, the list for the first time included international writers who view the UK as their home.[30]

Granta Best of Young American Novelists[edit]

Granta Best of Young Spanish Language Novelists[edit]

Granta Best of Young Brazilian Novelists[edit]

From left to right: Antonio Prata, Javier Arancibia, Leandro Sarmatz, Julian Fuks, Antonio Xerxenesky, Vinicius Jatoba, Miguel del Castillo and Emilio Fraia

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b About Granta Magazine.
  2. ^ Garfield, Simon (30 December 2007). "From student rag to literary riches". The Observer.
  3. ^ Prizes Granta Magazine.
  4. ^ "Top 50 Literary Magazine". EWR. Retrieved 17 August 2015.
  5. ^ Davies, Ella (7 December 2022). "Spotlight: Granta". The Publishing Post. Retrieved 19 December 2023.
  6. ^ a b "Granta: Origin, Importance & Contributions | StudySmarter". StudySmarter UK. Retrieved 19 December 2023.
  7. ^ Haffenden, John, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
  8. ^ Roach, J. P. C., "The University of Cambridge: The modern university (1882-1939)", in A History of the County of Cambridge and the Isle of Ely: Volume 3: The City and University of Cambridge (1959), pp. 266–306; and F. A. Rice, The Granta and its contributors, 1889–1914, London: Constable, 1924.
  9. ^ Blanchard, Elise. "London-Based Lit Mags". The Review Review. Archived from the original on 5 March 2016. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  10. ^ Wagner, Erica (10 May 2022). "The rise and fall of the literary bloke". New Statesman. Retrieved 12 June 2024.
  11. ^ Ian Jack profile, Granta.
  12. ^ "Galaxia Gutenberg relanza la edición en español de la revista «Granta»". Diario ABC (in Spanish). 6 April 2014. Retrieved 29 June 2023.
  13. ^ "Nosotros". Granta (in Spanish). 9 February 2016. Retrieved 29 June 2023.
  14. ^ Lo Dico, Joy (25 May 2009). "A 'New Statesman' kind of guy. Just not New Labour". The Independent. Retrieved 12 June 2024.
  15. ^ Brook, Stephen (28 May 2008). "Granta names Alex Clark as first female editor". The Guardian.
  16. ^ a b Luft, Oliver (29 May 2009). "Alex Clark steps down as Granta editor". The Guardian.
  17. ^ "Advertise | Granta Magazine". Granta. Retrieved 9 July 2023.
  18. ^ "Introduction". Granta. 20 July 2023. Retrieved 22 September 2023.
  19. ^ "DAW Books". Worlds Without End. Retrieved 19 December 2023.
  20. ^ Kowalik, George (17 July 2019). "Power; Granta and the Power of the Story". Cent Magazine. Retrieved 19 December 2023.
  21. ^ "About Granta Books - Granta Books". Granta Books. Archived from the original on 21 June 2016. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  22. ^ Berwick, Isabel (6 November 2009). "Lunch with the FT: Sigrid Rausing". The Financial Times.
  23. ^ Page, Benedicte (14 September 2018). "Granta shutters Portobello imprint". The Bookseller. Retrieved 23 October 2023.
  24. ^ The Independent Alliance. Granta Books.
  25. ^ "Publishers We Work With - Book Distribution | Ingram Content Group". Archived from the original on 7 September 2018. Retrieved 12 November 2017.
  26. ^ Thirlwell, Adam (19 November 2010), "Lists, lists, lists...", New Writing |Granta Magazine. Archived 9 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  27. ^ Hickling, Alfred (30 August 2003). "Actually, I don't like it | Review: Politics by Adam Thirlwell". The Guardian.
  28. ^ Bedell, Geraldine (5 January 2003). "Granta's grotto: Every decade Granta's list of Britain's best young novelists causes a literary sensation. Here The Observer presents an exclusive preview of the winners for 2003". The Observer.
  29. ^ Gallix, Andrew (July 2003). "3am Interview: "A small but satisfying kick in Blair's nuts: An interview with Dan Rhodes". 3 AM Magazine. Retrieved 14 March 2013.
  30. ^ Razzall, Katie (13 April 2023). "Granta: Eleanor Catton and Saba Sams make Best of Young British Novelists list". BBC News.

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]