The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

September 23, 2016
by Dan
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Cynan Jones Covers by Jenny Grigg

I’m a little late to work of Welsh novelist Cynan Jones, but I recently finished reading his award-winning 2014 novel The Dig, and it’s not hard to see what all the fuss is about. The writing is beautifully spare and intimate, and the … Continue reading

June 2, 2016
by Dan
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Monocle on Books in Translation

On the latest Monocle 24 Culture show, host Robert Bound discusses the recent rise in translated fiction with Anne Meadows, commissioning editor at Portobello and Granta, and Lisette Verhagen, foreign-rights agent at David Godwin Associates, while Andrew Mueller talks to Deborah Smith, Man Booker International Prize-winning … Continue reading

August 18, 2015
by Dan
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Dan Stiles Covers for Undermajordomo Minor

Next month sees the publication of Undermajordomo Minor, the new novel by award-winning Canadian author Patrick deWitt. An “ink-black comedy of manners”, it apparently involves an Alpine castle, a mysterious Baron Von Aux, and a lot of bad behaviour — including, if the Quill and … Continue reading

July 30, 2013
by Dan
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Janet Malcolm: The Devil in the Detail

Gaby Wood interviews journalist Janet Malcolm for The Telegraph: How Malcolm goes about her journalistic business is clear from her person. Her gaze is remarkably unflinching; unnervous, but not stern. She concentrates on looking at all times. She is difficult … Continue reading

November 29, 2012
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Ruined… For Life — Yuka Igarashi on the consequences of copy-editing at Granta: There is a danger to copy-editing. You start to read in a different way. You start to see the sentence as machinery. You focus on the gears … Continue reading

July 20, 2012
by Dan
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Something for the Weekend

Do It Yourself — John Self, of the excellent Asylum blog, on the power of independent readers, at The Guardian: if publishers and authors are limited in what they can do for a book online, who is left? They want … Continue reading

April 18, 2012
by Dan
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Midweek Miscellany

Insufficiently Bored — An essay by author Toby Litt on technology and reading (and writing) at Granta: Proposition: ‘The human race is no longer sufficiently bored with life to be distracted by an art form as boring as the novel.’ … Continue reading

February 17, 2012
by Dan
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Basquiat, Bowie, and British Tailoring

Michael Salu, artistic director of Granta, talks to Crane TV about his work, influences and personal style:

August 17, 2011
by Dan
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Diana Athill | Michael Salu and Rankin

Designed by the brilliant Michael Salu, the cover for Diana Athill’s forthcoming collection of letters, Instead of a Book, features a stunning portrait of the author by acclaimed British photographer Rankin (co-founder of Dazed & Confused in case you were wondering). To … Continue reading

July 9, 2010
by Dan
1 Comment

Somthing for the Weekend

“Spot gloss on the molecules” — David Gee’s cover for 7 Good Reasons Not To Be Good by John Gould. Going Back — Artistic Director Michael Salu on the creating the cover of the new issue of Granta magazine: For … Continue reading

February 24, 2010
by Dan
1 Comment

Midweek Miscellany

Precisely and Concisely — The Caustic Cover Critic interviews designer and Artistic Director of Granta magazine Michael Salu: Bizarrely, designers looking for employment are often judged by what software they’re able to use. Intellect, cultural awareness and often creativity don’t … Continue reading

September 3, 2009
by Dan
0 comments

Chris Ware’s Cover for Granta 108

Chris Ware’s cover design for Granta 108: Chicago:

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