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Tell us your list

Beckett wants better news.

After the New Yorker posted their list of the top 20 writers under 40 with all large press names I thought it might be time for a counter list.

In the spirit of equal opportunity I invite anyone to submit lists of their top writers under 40. Please rank them 1-5. 5 points for first and so on. Small press, large press, whatever.

Feel free to post here or email your list for privacy to gregorygerke at yahoo.com. Let’s close it Saturday.

12 thoughts on “Tell us your list

  1. I don’t read enough contemporary authors, though I’ve been working on that.

    I thought Karen Russel was a good pick. I wish they’d added Marisha Pessl just on the basis of her debut novel, “Special Topics In Calamity Physics.” oh, and, I don’t know, isn’t Tao Lin sensational enough right now to have earned the status of a writer to look out for?

    Mohsin Hamid and Aravind Adiga are two others whose works I’ve really enjoyed, but I don’t feel ‘qualified’ enough to make a list.

    1. Hi Susana,

      It’s kind of encouraging to hear that you “don’t read enough contemporary authors,” since I think most readers and writers err in the opposite direction: stuffing their faces with whatever’s new.

      What makes one qualified to make a list anyway?

      1. Thanks! I suppose I just tend to go with the ‘classics’–not the Austens of the world, mind you, but I like a lot of 20th C lit, like Albee, Morrison, Marquez, Nabakov…tried and true stuff.

        I think in the book world, you have to be considered ‘prominent’ and ‘literary’ to be qualified. Bonus points if you’re in your forties and you’ve been published in an established magazine.

        Another person who I think should have made the list: Dave Eggers. He’s 40, but the list is stupidly boxed by an age limit anyhow, so why not just squeeze him in.

  2. ive read about half of these writers and i wasnt dissapointed by what i read. im not sure why people read lists like these with chips on their shoulders? can anyone honestly say they’ve read more than half of these writers? chris adrian, jsf, no complaints about them making a list like this. no one posting or commenting has written a novel as good as extremely loud and incredibly close, when you have, then start criticizing the list.

    dont mean to be a dick, but why do people approach these lists with angst, as if the writers listed dont deserve recognition?

    1. Barry,

      My question about the list has more to do with the insularity of the 20 writers listed, nothing to do with artistic merit. There are no small press authors on the list, most have been published in the NYer which, I guess, is all the merit one needs.

      I am just trying to offer a competing vision that’s a little less-NYer-centric.

      What could be behind the angst is that many of the authors don’t ‘need’ that list because they have publicity enough, while consider the boon for the small press industry if Cohen and/or others made the list.

  3. i get what you’re saying completely about not need ing the list, im just saying, i dont think its fair to deny that they deserve it. it almost feels like the nba in the 90’s when its like, fuck, michael jordan wins the mvp again. of course, why wouldnt he… this analogy coming from a heartbroken ny knicks fan in the 90’s. so i feel ya, trust me.

  4. You know, I’ve read stories by many of the writers on the New Yorker’s list. I question their inclusion on what is arguably an influential list (and a possible financial windfall for already largely established writers) because they are not the most exciting writers under forty to watch, not by a mile.

    I mean, Jeremy Davies wrote Rose Alley, one of the best novels of last year. Why isn’t he on the list? Eugene Lim writes better prose than most of these writers. What Robert Lopez does with language in Kamby Bolongo Mean River is audacious, fresh, and inventive, moreover, it’s accessible. Surely, he should have been included. And what about Joyelle McSweeney (not sure how old she is)? She’s an incredible writer. Ander Monson’s not on that list. He’s one of the most forward-thinking, thinking-out-of-the-box writers out there. Joanna Ruocco’s debut The Mothering Coven is a beautiful work of art. Can it really be said of most of the writers up on that list that what they’ve made were works of art rather than well-worn conventional tired dull formulaic work? Many people I respect are saying positive things about Joshua Cohen. Why isn’t he on the list? Vanessa Place (not sure how old she is) should place on that list. And why aren’t Joanna Howard (not sure how old she is), Renee Gladman, Jesse Ball, Jamie Iredell (not sure how old he is), Lily Hoang, Matt Bell, Tim Horvath, Matthew Kirkpatrick, Christopher Higgs, Andrew Zornoza, Jane Unrue (how old is she?), Sean Lovelace, Adam Robinson, Darby Larson, Jackie Corley, Shane Jones, and, and, and…on that list? And I’m sure I’m missing many more besides.

    I don’t see how I could applaud a list that exhibits a lack of imagination, largely celebrates its own roster, largely celebrates mediocrity, gives the limelight once again to the so-called major presses, to writers trained mainly in the Ivy Leagues.

    I won’t be watching out for what most of those writers produce in the coming years. I have too many imaginative, inventive, exploratory, versatile writers of any age, the quick and the dead, competing for my already overwhelmed attention.

    1. For obvious reasons, I didn’t include the writers on this blog into my list. But I have to also say that I’d rather read a poem or story (hell, even an email or shopping list) from them, too, than most of those writers on that boring New Yorker list.

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