“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.”
This is the objective of Granta, a literary magazine and publisher in the United Kingdom. Each themed issue of Granta turns the attention of the world’s best writers on to one aspect of the way we live now - be it international translations or investigative journalism.
And this year, Granta will be launching in Bangladesh at the much anticipated Dhaka Literary Festival 2017.
Over a hundred years of literary excellence
Granta magazine was founded in 1889 by students at Cambridge University as The Granta, a periodical of student politics, badinage and literary enterprise, named after the river that runs through the town. In the original version, it published the work of writers like A A Milne, Michael Frayn, Stevie Smith, Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath.
However in 1979, Bill Buford took the initiative to completely transform Granta from a student publication to the literary quarterly it is today. Granta Books came ten years later, quickly becoming one of the most independent-minded and prestigious literary publishers in the UK. The company publishes around 25 new titles every year, both literary fiction and non-fiction, along with review coverage, prizes, cultural impact and sales. In 1997, Granta Books was expanded by its previous owner, Rea Hederman, publisher of the New York Review of Books.
Sigrid Rausing bought Granta magazine and Granta Books in 2005, and is now the publisher of Granta Books, Portobello Books and Granta Magazine.
The best young Bangladeshi novelist
In the early 1980s, Granta introduced the first of its Best Young Writers, a selection of emerging British authors. On the most recent list is Tahmima Anam from Bangladesh, who was included in the Granta list of 20 Best Young Writers in 2013.
Best known for her first novel A Golden Age, a story on the Liberation War of Bangladesh and inspired by her family history, Anam's debut work was translated into 22 languages. Anam was born in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and grew up in Paris, New York City, and Bangkok.
In March 2007, her first novel was published by John Murray. She also worked on the set of Tareque and Catherine Masud's critically acclaimed film Matir Moina (The Clay Bird) which reflects the happenings during that war.
As of 2008, Anam, is the author and contributing editor of the New Statesman of UK. In 2011, her second novel The Good Muslim, a sequel to A Golden Age, was published. It was nominated for the 2011 Man Asian Literary Prize long list. In 2017, she was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
A few of the prizewinning titles from Granta Books include:
• A Brief Stop on the Road from Auschwitz by Goran Rosenberg, translated by Sarah Death – The Bernard Shaw Prize for Swedish Translation (2016)
• The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli, translated by Christina MacSweeney – The Premio Valle-Inclán Award for Spanish Translation (2016)
• All For Nothing by Walter Kempowski, translated by Anthea Ball – The Schlegel-Tieck Prize for German Translation (2016)
• The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton – Man Booker Prize (2013); Governer General's Literary Award (2013)
• May We Be Forgiven by A. M. Homes – Women's Prize for Fiction (2013), Australian International Book of the Year (2013)
• Badgerlands by Patrick Barkham – East Anglian Book Awards (2013); East Anglian Awards Book Cover Design (2013)
• The Virtues of the Table by Julian Baggini – Salon Transmission Prize (2013)
• The Letter Bearer by Robert Allison – McKitterick Prize (2013)
• Orkney by Amy Sackville – The Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize (2013)
• Secrecy by Rupert Thomson – The Jerwood Fiction Uncovered Prize (2013)