The well-respected and long-standing literary magazine, Granta: The Magazine of New Writing’s spring 2011 edition is titled “The F Word.’” Though the book contains many words that begin with ‘f,’ the overarching theme is perhaps the most controversial f-word of all—feminism.
With a mix of photos, drawings, poems, memoirs, and realist fiction each of the 23 female contributors add their own unique voice and perspective to the stunning collection. With stories spanning decades and continents, from Louise Erdrich’s The Ojibwe Week to Caroline Moorehead’s piece on the experiences of Holocaust death-camp inmates, power struggle and dynamics are evident throughout.
Though the collection is definitely ‘intellectual’—scholarly even—“The F Word” is still an entirely readable, enjoyable, and approachable feminist writing. I loved the wry humor in Helen Simpson’s Night Thoughts in which the stereotypical roles ascribed to each gender are flipped, and a stay-at-home husband only feels safe criticizing his career-obsessed wife's harshness in the quiet early morning hours. Clarisse d’Arcimoles “Un-Possible Retour” photographs which recreate old images with the same aged people are incredibly endearing and touching as they highlight the passage of time and even death. The beautiful writing in the collection’s closing piece, Jeannette Winterson’s All I Know About Gertrude Stein, in which Winterson intertwines facts from Stein’s love life with a contemporary woman’s reflection on her own romantic life gave me chills. I highly recommend it to any BUST reader.
From the press release:
“From Ghana to Great Britain, New Delhi to New York, the balance of power remains tipped towards men. Granta 115: The F Word explores the ways in which feminism continues to inform, address and complicate that balance.”
Granta was founded in 1889 by Cambridge University students, and has a history of publishing early works of important writers such as Ted Hughes, Sylvia Plath, and A. A. Milne, and recent contributers have included Ian McEwan, Zadie Smith, and Louise Erdrich. You can subscribe to receive their quarterly editions here.