A Response to Flavorwire’s “New York’s 100 Most Important Living Writers”

List-making can be a thorough waste of time, and by “waste,” I mean, excess, dross, detritus, and not necessarily something that does not have value, however minimal or otherwise, but sometimes even this excess may prove excessive, especially when you respond to another list, a list that itself produces its own waste of time, among other things, i.e., Flavorwire’s “New York’s 100 Most Important Living Writers”: a conservative list as predictable, as it is vanilla, albeit with some colored sprinkles added for a semblance of variety. You might say that Flavorwire‘s staff was working within the confines of including only writers who live in New York. But this is one of the problems with it: The list fetishizes the New York writer, a myth as large as the hammer required to destroy it. (Adding insult to insult, Flavorwire‘s list also misses so many important New York writers.) As one corrective, and I hope there will be many correctives in its wake, here’s a list of writers in alphabetical order who are the most important living writers to me. Alas, the thoroughness of the waste here is not thorough at all, so please feel free to do with it as you would with any waste.

Note: I did not include any of Big Other’s contributors on my list, the omissions silly but perhaps necessary.

  1. Giorgio Agamben
  2. César Aira
  3. Michal Ajvaz
  4. Will Alexander
  5. John Ashbery
  6. Gary Amdahl
  7. Alain Badiou
  8. Jesse Ball
  9. John Barth
  10. Matt Bell
  11. Andrew Bird
  12. Judith Butler
  13. Mary Caponegro
  14. Kim Chinquee
  15. Noam Chomsky
  16. Cristophe Claro
  17. Robert Coover
  18. Susan Daitch
  19. Samuel R. Delany
  20. Don DeLillo
  21. Annie Dillard
  22. Rikki Ducornet
  23. Umberto Eco
  24. Julia Elliot
  25. Brian Evenson
  26. Thalia Field
  27. César Aira
  28. Forrest Gander
  29. William H. Gass
  30. Molly Gaudry
  31. Renee Gladman
  32. Jaimy Gordon
  33. Peter Greenaway
  34. Tina May Hall
  35. Donna Haraway
  36. John Haskell
  37. Lyn Hejinian
  38. Amy Hempel
  39. Lily Hoang
  40. Noy Holland
  41. Susan Howe
  42. Jamie Iredell
  43. Luce Irigaray
  44. Andrew Joron
  45. Imre Kertész
  46. Michael Kimball
  47. Abbas Kiarostami
  48. Naomi Klein
  49. László Krasznahorkai
  50. Julia Kristeva
  51. J. M. G. Le Clézio
  52. Eugene Lim
  53. Alphonso Lingis
  54. Sam Lipsyte
  55. Norman Lock
  56. Robert Lopez
  57. Gary Lutz
  58. Catherine Malabou
  59. Micheline Aharonian Marcom
  60. Ben Marcus
  61. Eugene Marten
  62. Carole Maso
  63. Joyelle McSweeney
  64. Anne Michaels
  65. D. A. Miller
  66. Bradford Morrow
  67. Péter Nádas
  68. Emine Sevgi Özdamar
  69. Lance Olsen
  70. Vanessa Place
  71. Lia Purpura
  72. Thomas Pynchon
  73. Dawn Raffel
  74. Jacques Rancière
  75. Ishmael Reed
  76. Julián Ríos
  77. Avital Ronell
  78. Arundhati Roy
  79. George Saunders
  80. Shya Scanlon
  81. Christine Schutt
  82. Damion Searls
  83. Ken Sparling
  84. Robert Steiner
  85. Stephanie Strickland
  86. Terese Svoboda
  87. Cole Swensen
  88. Alexander Theroux
  89. J. A. Tyler
  90. Jane Unrue
  91. Paul Virilio
  92. Keith Waldrop
  93. Rosmarie Waldrop
  94. Diane Williams
  95. C. D. Wright
  96. Can Xue
  97. Mo Yan
  98. Lidia Yuknavitch
  99. Slavoj Žižek
  100. Leni Zumas
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4 thoughts on “A Response to Flavorwire’s “New York’s 100 Most Important Living Writers”

  1. I studied with 53. Alphonso Lingis – a freshman philosophy class – “Antecedents of Existentialism” – at Penn State during the autumn of 1985. What a charismatic genius. So glad you have him on your list!

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