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Granta Gear Shift

On a recent drizzly Saturday morning I was browsing in a local newsagent’s shop, pondering whether my latest paycheck’s remains would cover some fresh reading materials. This particular newsagent’s shop possessing an outstanding selection, it took some time before I sifted through enough weekly news magazines, daily newspapers, and monthly hobby glossies to decide on a no-longer-so-impulsive purchase.

The spring 2009 issue of Granta, "Lost and Found", grabbed my attention, even relegated as it was to a dusty bottom shelf. More than a few of my favorite fiction writers (Martin Amis, Jeanette Winterson and Salman Rushdie, for a start) received some early-career support from that venerated literary magazine, and I sprung for a copy.

Back at home with coffee in hand I put Granta down in favor of my RSS reader, and discovered in short order that the staff list on the second page was already out of date, a recent shakeup in the editorship of the magazine having recently taken place.

Alex Clark, the first female editor of the magazine in its 120 year history, stepped down recently after serving for only a year as the editor. John Freeman, previously the editor of the American edition, has stepped up to fill the shoes of the departing Clark as acting editor. Granta has had four editors in a year and a half.

The sense of drama I gained from looking at press releases made me wish I’d been a subscriber to Granta since I became aware of the magazine as an undergraduate English major some ten years ago. In an interview last week posted to the Granta’s website, Freeman comments,

The chance to do this now is also a great privilege. I don’t believe there’s a lack of good writing in our world, but rather a shrinking number of places where it can be published imaginatively, to a wide audience willing to submit themselves to the pleasures and guidance of serious literature, of what it can show them and where it can take them. As an international literary magazine,Granta is in a unique position to tell readers important stories, to make people think. It’s what our readers expect of us.

Another great thing about Granta is looking at the table of contents and wondering which of these currently unknown names will achieve continuing success tomorrow. I’ll enjoy my issue and you can think about picking up the even newer special summer fiction issue, with a preview available here. Do you make a habit of perusing literary magazines?

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