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When Men Started Doing It

Steven Shapin: At the Grill Station

17 August 2006
Heat: An Amateur’s Adventures as Kitchen Slave, Line Cook, Pasta-Maker and Apprentice to a Butcher in Tuscany 
by Bill Buford.
Cape, 318 pp., £17.99, July 2006, 9780224071840
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... both about a million). By comparison, the circulation of the New Yorker – which has instituted an annual food issue – was just short of a million in 2004. And now its former fiction editor BillBuford has provided one of the most evocative testaments to our – and his – current obsession: Heat is a record of several years spent in willing servitude to some of the great chefs, and food artisans ...
21 November 1991
Among the Thugs 
by Bill Buford.
Secker, 317 pp., £14.99, October 1991, 0 436 07526 1
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A Strange Kind of Glory 
by Eamon Dunphy.
Heinemann, 396 pp., £14.99, September 1991, 9780434216161
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... to any conclusions, or add up to anything: all they do is chronicle the kinds of thing that the people who do that kind of thing are capable of doing. I have been calling these people ‘yobs’, but BillBuford calls them ‘thugs’, and he has written an engrossing book about them – a book that is itself a yob anthology, that both describes and partakes of the yob atmosphere. Buford began to be ...

Short Cuts

Thomas Jones: 10,860 novels

23 August 2001
... of September’, but that’s not the same thing as the best novels, and I would read The Devil’s Larder by Jim Crace before Rushdie’s Fury (they’ll both be published on the same day). In 1980, BillBuford, then the magazine’s editor (he’s now fiction editor of the New Yorker), wrote a piece for Granta – included in Granta: The First 21 Years (Granta, £9.99) – called ‘The End of the ...

Lobsters do not have eyelashes!

Joanna Biggs: Nell Freudenberger

8 February 2007
The Dissident 
by Nell Freudenberger.
Picador, 427 pp., £14.99, March 2007, 978 0 330 49343 7
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... It was just as well. Freudenberger made her literary debut in the New Yorker’s fiction issue of summer 2001. She had been interning there and, in true Cinderella style, had given her story to BillBuford, who was then the fiction editor, and subsequently found herself at the centre of a bidding war for her as yet unwritten first book. Her apparently effortless ascent raised hackles: Curtis ...

No One Leaves Her Place in Line

Jeremy Harding: Martha Gellhorn

7 May 1998
... and the bulk of the journalism is about why she couldn’t. I knew Martha Gellhorn during the last ten years of her life. I had fallen for the work long before I fell for the person. We met through BillBuford, then the editor of Granta, who had also fallen for the writing. She and I were both contributors. By the time Buford made the introduction, I’d read whatever journalism I could find and ...

Veering Wildly

Kirsty Gunn: Jayne Anne Phillips

30 July 2014
Quiet Dell 
by Jayne Anne Phillips.
Cape, 445 pp., £18.99, April 2014, 978 0 224 09935 6
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... has always written this way. Her writing territory, though recognisably American (she appeared in the 1983 issue of Granta that introduced a new kind of writing from the US that the then editor BillBuford labelled ‘dirty realism’, taking in Richard Ford, Raymond Carver, Bobbi Ann Mason and so on), has always belonged to her and her alone. ‘For me,’ she has written, this ‘no man’s land, a ...


Tobias Jones: The politics of football

7 May 1998
... i.d., the 1995 British film about hooliganism, a ‘travesty’, and sees the ‘folk devil’ footie fan as a political fantasy, tied up with right-wing programmes of criminal justice legislation. BillBuford’s Among the Thugs – until recently the best-known book on hooliganism – is uniformly scorned by the new doubters. ‘Dear Bill,’ writes Bootsy Egan, Colin Ward’s pseudonym in his ...

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