One upstate New York resident discovers the violent local history of the farmland she bought. Known as the Anti-Rent War, this history is closely tied with America’s complicated ideal about land ownership and dominion, and resonates far wider than its location suggests.

Source: Granta
Published: Mar 14, 2019
Length: 27 minutes (6,975 words)


In China, a British expat marveled at the many ways strangers touched each other, creating a common language of the body, during China’s modernization.

Source: Granta
Published: Feb 14, 2019
Length: 16 minutes (4,184 words)

A Few Words about Fake Breasts

Nell Boeschenstein, writing almost seven years after her prophylactic mastectomy, examines how breasts — whether real or fake, attached to or removed from their original owner — carry an overabundance of personal and cultural meaning.

Source: Granta
Published: Aug 20, 2018
Length: 25 minutes (6,409 words)

A Walk to Kobe

A 6.1 earthquake recently struck Osaka, Japan. In 1997, writer Haruki Murakami walked the long stretch between Kobe’s city center and his childhood home in the outskirts, to see how the great Kobe earthquake changed his hometown. He found not only a foreign landscape, but traces of himself, and the constant echo of violence.

Source: Granta
Published: Aug 6, 2013
Length: 19 minutes (4,893 words)

Who Killed Tolstoy?

If literature is the news that stays news, then it’s always a good time to revist Elif Batuman’s first book, The Possessed, about the people obsessed with Russia’s great authors. In this selection, Batuman gets a travel grant as a college student to investigate whether Leo Tolstoy was murdered. She examines his life for clues. She looks at his books and estate. She spends four days wearing sweatpants and flip-flops after her luggage got lost en route to the International Tolstoy Conference in Russia.

Source: Granta
Published: Apr 11, 2018
Length: 16 minutes (4,034 words)

Typing Practice

In Typing Practice, an excerpt from her book, Living with a Wild God, Barbara Ehrenreich looks back to keeping a notebook to make sense of growing up female in a dysfunctional family. The lessons she learned offer some hope for these trying times: “But there is another possible response to the unknown and potentially menacing, and that is thinking.”

Source: Granta
Published: Jan 31, 2018
Length: 12 minutes (3,124 words)

Mangilaluk’s Highway

On June 24, 1972, three boys decided to leave their residential school in Canada’s Northwest Territories and walk from Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk (“Tuk”) in a bid to avoid punishment for stealing a pack of cigarettes from their dorm supervisor. Without a highway connecting Inuvik to Tuk, the boys had no idea they were undertaking an impossible journey of 90 miles over boggy tundra. At Granta, Nadim Roberts tells the story of Dennis, Jack, and Bernard, and of the horrific toll residential schools have exacted on Inuits, the Inuit community, and their traditional ways of life.

Source: Granta
Published: Nov 9, 2017
Length: 34 minutes (8,693 words)

The File: Lost Then Found

A personal essay in which A.M. Homes — who ten years ago published The Mistress’s Daughter, a memoir about meeting her birth parents — reports on the experience of recently being given her long lost adoption file, and the effects of the information on her understanding of her origins.

Author: A.M. Homes
Source: Granta
Published: Oct 31, 2017
Length: 20 minutes (5,153 words)

The Tamarind Is Always Sour

Excluded from Myanmar citizenship, the Rohingya, an ethnic minority, are the largest stateless group in the world, so they pay smugglers to get them to Malaysia in inhumane conditions.

Author: Keane Shum
Source: Granta
Published: Jun 19, 2017
Length: 33 minutes (8,431 words)

All That Was Familiar

In Nigeria, Boko Haram left millions of “internally displaced persons,” called IDPs, living in makeshift camps, trying to keep their children from starving while relief food gets pirated and sold off in local markets. A journalist snuck into one camp without authorization to get the real story of life on the ground there.

Source: Granta
Published: May 9, 2017
Length: 19 minutes (4,985 words)