And now, for the second time they are doing the same with American writers, the Guardian reports.
They didn't do a bad job last time with Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Franzen, Lorrie Moore and David Guterson making the list. But most of the writers, I still haven't heard of, despite a more than average ear to the ground. (It's probably something to do with my Britlit bias: apologies to my American friends.)
These then are the chosen ones, and if you want to read more about them, there's a biodata of each on the Granta website.
Daniel AlarcónHow many have you heard of? If you said "All of them", sorry, you're bluffing. Seven have not been published yet and make their debut in the latest edition of the magazine.
Jonathan Safran Foer
A.L.Kennedy (herself Granta listed twice) on the Guardian blog admits she's only heard of one them.
I feel nicely smug because I've heard of Jonathan Safran Foer, have bought Uzodinma Iweala's novel, and have read (and loved!) Yiyun Li and Rattawat Lapcharoensap. (Come to think of it, it seems that some good writers from elsewhere have been conveniently appropriated. Poor Yiyun Li probably doesn't even have her green card yet!!)
The age limit for "young writers" has now apparently been lowered from 40 to 35. Says Granta editor Ian Jack:
People seem to be writing (and publishing) fiction sooner ... they have, at least in theory, a head start on their predecessors and should be getting better, quicker.In the introduction to the current issue of the magazine which brings together samples of the writing, Ian Jack points to a changes in focus: writers' interest in social class has "ebbed" and in its place is "a concern with death, uncertainty and the outside world". He also observes that nearly all of the writers on the list have attended creative writing courses.
But won't be all sunshine and roses for listed writers from hereonin if Kennedy's own experience is anything to go by. She described the dubious pleasures of:
... touring the country for readings, largely to tiny audiences, and sitting in a cupboard with my fellow authors to sign so many copies of Granta that by the end of it all, my signature was so permanently mangled I had to notify my bank. And it meant I attended a party at the Saatchi gallery and got to see the Blood Head and Patrick Stewart.But come to think of it, the first time I heard of A.L.Kennedy was on a Granta list, and I have, since, bought her books.
I think I will make my predictions about the most promising young Malaysian writers, but hey, I'm going to seal up the paper and bury it in a time-capsule ... and blog about it ten years hence!