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About Granta Books

Granta Books is one of the most independent-minded and prestigious literary publishers in the UK. The company publishes around 25 new titles a year, both literary fiction and upmarket non-fiction, and provides authors with the intimacy of a small, passionate and creative team while consistently punching above its weight in review coverage, prizes, cultural impact and sales.

Bill Buford launched Granta Books in 1989, ten years after he transformed Granta magazine from a Cambridge student publication to the literary quarterly it still is today. The imprint set out to publish six books a year, distributed and promoted by Penguin. The launch list included John Berger’s Once in Europa, Gabriel García Márquez’s Clandestine in Chile, Martha Gellhorn’s The View from the Ground and Nicholson Baker’s The Mezzanine. Buford later published Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories and books by Ivan Klima and Hans Magnus Enzensberger. He aimed to hold on to the editorial principle that had governed the magazine: to publish ‘only writing we care passionately about’.

In 1997 Granta Books was expanded by its previous owner, Rea Hederman, publisher of the New York Review of Books. He brought in publisher Frances Coady. The company gained its own sales department and quadrupled its publishing programme. Authors brought to the list included Jeanette Winterson, Edward W. Said, Linda Grant, Herta Müller, Iain Sinclair and Misha Glenny.

Sigrid Rausing bought Granta magazine and Granta Books in 2005. Together with her husband, film and theatre producer Eric Abraham, and publisher Philip Gwyn Jones, Rausing had already founded the publishing house Portobello Books. Rausing is the publisher of Granta  Books and Portobello Books, whilst Philip Gwyn Jones is executive publisher, and Sara Holloway is the publishing director of Granta Books. In September 2007, Granta joined the Independent Alliance. Granta Books works closely with Granta magazine, and although they are independent entities, over the years much cross-pollination has taken place.

Granta Books has established a reputation for publishing intelligent, challenging and original books and for maintaining rigorous editorial standards. Our non-fiction tends to be voice-driven and narrative and to blur genre boundaries (and indeed frequently to define new genres). It includes memoirs by Diana Athill, Blake Morrison, Sara Maitland, Janice Galloway and Rupert Thomson; popular philosophy by John Gray, Julian Baggini, Simon Critchley and Mark Rowlands; reportage by Sven Lindqvist, Barbara Ehrenreich, Martha Gellhorn, Janet Malcolm, Emma Larkin and Barbara Demick; political and cultural investigation by Anna Funder, Polly Toynbee, Masha Gessen, Edward W. Said and Elizabeth Pisani; nature writing by Robert Macfarlane, Patrick Barkham and Esther Woolfson; and travel writing by Ryszard Kapuściński, Amitav Ghosh and Michael Jacobs.

We publish groundbreaking, ambitious, and beautifully written fiction, including prize-winning novels by Linda Grant, Romesh Gunesekera, Eleanor Catton and Anne Landsman, and backlist classics by Joseph Roth, Leonardo Sciascia, Fred Wander, Elias Canetti, S. Yizhar, Jo Langer and Heda Kovaly. We are always looking for and nurturing new talent, with debuts on the list by Mohsin Hamid, Kamila Shamsie, Max Schaefer, Alistair Morgan, Sarah Moss and E.C. Osondu.

 

There is a particular bent on our list towards exciting new American fiction: we publish Richard Ford’s acclaimed anthologies of American short stories, and novels and story collections by A. M. Homes, Gary Shteyngart, Wells Tower, Amy Bloom, Patrick deWitt and Chris Adrian. Three of the New Yorker’s 2010 ‘20 under 40’ survey of the best young American writers are published by Granta Books.

Prize-winning titles from Granta Books:

  • And When Did you Last See Your Father? by Blake Morrison – Waterstone’s/Volvo/Esquire Award for Non-Fiction (1993) and the J. R. Ackerley Prize for Autobiography (1994) 
  • When I lived in Modern Times by Linda Grant – Orange Prize for Fiction (2000)
  • Stasiland by Anna Funder – BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction (2004)
  • Mountains of the Mind by Robert Macfarlane –Guardian Award for First Book (2003); Sunday Times Award for Young Writer of the Year (2004); Somerset Maugham Award (2004)
  • The Likes of Us by Michael Collins – Orwell Book Prize (2005)
  • The Medical Detective by Sandra Hempel – British Medical Association Board of Science Award for the Public Understanding of Science (2007)
  • The Wild Places by Robert Macfarlane – Boardman Tasker Prize for Mountain Literature (2007); Scottish Arts Council Award for Non-Fiction Book of the Year (2008); joint winner of the Grand Prize at the Banff Mountain Festival (2008)
  • The Rowing Lesson by Anne Landsman – Sunday Times Fiction Prize, South Africa (2009)
  • Fishing in Utopia by Andrew Brown – Orwell Book Prize (2009)
  • Somewhere Towards the End by Diana Athill  – The Costa Award for Biography (2008)
  • The Wisdom of Whores by Elizabeth Pisani – British Medical Association Medical Book Awards, Highly commended under ‘Popular medicine’ category
  • The Seventh Well – The Wingate Literary Prize (2009)
  • Hot Flushes, Cold Science by Louise Foxcroft – Longman-History Today Award for Book of the Year (2009)
  • The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton – Betty Trask Award (2009)
  • How to Drink by Victoria Moore – V&A Award for Best Illustrated Book of the Year (2010)
  • Map of a Nation by Rachel Hewitt – Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction (2008)
  • The Book of Barely Imagined Beings by Caspar Henderson – Royal Society of Literature Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction (2009) and the inaugural Roger Deakin Award (2009)
  • Nothing to Envy by Barbara Demick – BBC Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction (2010)
  • The Plot by Madeleine Bunting - Portico Prize for Literature 2010
  • This Party's Got to Stop by Rupert Thomson - Writer's Guild Award for Non-Fiction (2010)

 



 
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