by Jason Cowley (ed.).
A return to form for the relaunched Granta.
Unusually for Granta, the 101st edition of the magazine does not have an overarching theme. This is no great loss, as the themes are often rather tenuous—although I am very much looking forward to reading Granta 102, The New Nature Writing.
Granta 100 might have contained too much chaff for my liking, but Granta 101 is very definitely a return to form. I was pleased to see how little fiction it contains—I'm not into fiction—and there is only one poem. The rest is mostly excellent writing on subjects ranging from Parisian suburbs, the story behind a missing Angolan pilot, a walk in Beijing, the British H-bomb tests above Christmas Island, and the brutal murder of a writers' agent. There is also a photo essay from the inhabited regions of the Arctic. All great stuff.
Granta 101 also launches a new design for the magazine. The changes are hardly ground-breaking, but are generally sensible.
One potential area of concern, however: I have a bit of a bugbear about the poor quality of paper used in most books, and have always praised Granta for its use of high quality paper which 'meets the minimum requirements of American National Standard for Information Sciences—Permanence of Paper for Printed Library, ANSI Z39,48-1984'. But the colophon for Granta 101 has changed the description of the paper used, merely stating that it is 'certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)', and no longer making any reference to the ANSI standard. I hope this isn't political correctness getting in the way of quality. I will be taking this matter up with the editor.