Thousands of back copies of the literary quarterly Granta, dating back to 1979, were destroyed in the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, at the end of October.
Granta’s U.S. archive, which included work from Martin Amis, Julian Barnes and Angela Carter, was one of many collections at the World Net Shipping warehouse in Queens, that was destroyed by flood damage.
All editions of the magazine lost in the flooding are archived digitally, and the magazine’s British backlog is still in tact. However, the originals of some pages unique to the U.S. Edition, such as advertisements, will be permanently lost.
Speaking to the New Statesman, Granta’s Editor-in-Chief John Freeman was keen to stress that the storm was felt most by those whose livelihoods directly depended upon the distribution warehouse. The warehouse’s operations manager also lost his home in the storm.
Freeman said that the event highlighted the importance of the people involved in all stages of the production process, and not just the “brighter names”. He described the devastation that Sandy caused to people’s homes and livelihoods as “Katrina-esque in some of the outer reaches of New York.”
This is not the first time that cultural products have been destroyed in a crisis. During the London riots of summer 2011, a warehouse in North London containing music stockpiles from independent record labels such as Domino, XL, Warp and One Little Indian, as well as dozens of smaller indies, was burned to the ground.