The Good

Established Heritage: One of the UK’s most successful literary magazines, Granta began as a Cambridge University student paper, publishing a mixture of literature and larks. In 1979 it was reinvented by Bill Buford as a literary quarterly with a more international outlook, sourcing features from outside of the university’s student body. During Buford’s tenure as editor, long-form journalism, travel writing, translations, and those now infamous lists of ‘Best Young’ novelists became hallmarks that established a reputation for daring originality. Granta has consistently published short fiction and poetry from the best emerging talents from (primarily) the UK and USA.

Promotes Unknown Talent: Yes editors have been known to commission work, but their primary source of materials is through their online submissions porthole.

Broad Circulation: The media pack says their circulation is 20,000 with a 50-50 split between readers in the UK and US. However, the emphasis on beautiful covers, illustrations, photography and layout mean that many people will keep every copy — increasing the number of readers beyond those estimated from purchasing figures. They also boast 130,000 unique impressions on their website, which is pretty good for a humble lit mag.

Easy Going Submissions Policy: Their guidelines say they’re not too concerned about the length of your short story submission, and that they prioritise great writing above editorial ground rules. They do say that, as a guide, they won’t read much more than 10,000 words. They also accept simultaneous submissions, with pretty clear instructions on how to withdraw work if you get accepted elsewhere.

The Bad

Vague About Payment: Granta provides no public information about how much a writer may be paid (if at all) to have their work published either in the magazine or online. You also need to pay to submit, although I think this is probably wise as it prevents people from submitting in a hurry, and is the nominal amount of £3, which they argue is the cost printing and posting.

Small Submission Windows: The submissions for fiction and non-fiction writing are just a month-long — probably another strategy to sharpen a writer’s attention to detail and prevent sloppy submissions. The next submissions window is 13 October until 13 November 2019.

Long Response Time: Bearing in mind how large their slush pile must be, a six-month waiting time is reasonable.

Very Competitive: The editors have earned a reputation for being carefully selective. Themes emerge from the excellent writing they receive, meaning you need to submit something fresh and relevant.

The Obvious

Mate, if you’ve not been published by Granta, who even are you?

Take a look at their submissions policy on Submittable if you’d like to give Granta a go.

We’ll be taking a look at Ghillie’s Mum by Lynda Clark in our next newsletter, sign up if you’d like to be part of the discussion.

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