Granta has long been known for the quality of its travel writing. The 1980s were a golden age, where writers including Paul Theroux and Bruce Chatwin, James Hamilton-Paterson and James Fenton set out to document life in largely unfamiliar territory, bringing back tales of the beautiful, the extraordinary and the unexpected. But by the mid 1990s, travel writing seemed to change. Mass media meant that nowhere seemed entirely new, and the journeys that appeared in the magazine were made for more complex and often personal reasons. Decca Aitkenhead reported on sex tourism in Thailand, and Wendell Steavenson moved to Iraq as foreign correspondent. What all these pieces have in common is a sense of engagement with the places they describe, and a belief that whether we are in Birmingham or Belarus, there is always something new to be discovered.
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