July 11, 2019
The British Library is now home to the Granta archive
by Michael Barron
As noted by several literary news agencies, including The Bookseller, the British Library has acquired the archives of Granta, the 130 year-old taste making literary journal and publisher. And its not just back issues of their … well, I’ll just say it, kickass magazine that will be accounted for—300 boxes full of of marked-up proofs, copies of each issue, clerical documentation, and many correspondences between editors and authors—Kazuo Ishiguro, Margaret Atwood, Angela Carter, Martin Amis, John Berger, and Doris Lessing to name a few—will be housed at the library.
Granta, which takes its name from a medieval name for the Cam, was founded by Cambridge University students in 1889. Despite remaining in print and publishing names such as Sylvia Plath, A. A. Milne, and Stevie Smith, it wasn’t until in 1979 when it was relaunched as a magazine of new writing overseen by American editor Bill Buford that it became the influential powerhouse institution it is today.
“The material generated from 40 years of publishing Granta does so much more than simply showcase the history of our beloved literary quarterly,” Sigrid Rausing, editor of Granta, told The South Asian Times, “It also reveals how a plucky American, determined to shake things up by bringing new, edgy American writing to British readers, accidentally ended up championing some of Britain’s—and indeed the world’s—most exciting writers.”
Brilliant? We think so.
Michael Barron is an editor at Melville House.