The New Yorker announces Top 20 Under 40

Are these the world's most promising young novelists?

For the first time in over a decade, the New Yorker has nominated its "20 Under 40" -- a list of the most promising young fiction writers internationally.

Selected by the magazine's editors, the list will appear in next Monday's double fiction issue, and features a mixture of familiar names - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nicole Krauss, Gary Shteyngart -- alongside some more obscure ones.

Here's the complete list, with links to New Statesman reviews, interviews and extracts where available:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Chris Adrian
Daniel Alarcón
David Bezmozgis
Sarah Shun-lien Bynum
Joshua Ferris
Jonathan Safran Foer
Nell Freudenberger
Rivka Galchen
Nicole Krauss
Yiyun Li
Dinaw Mengestu
Philipp Meyer
C E Morgan
Tea Obreht
Z Z Packer
Karen Russell
Salvatore Scibona
Gary Shteyngart
Wells Tower

By a process that Deborah Treisman, the magazine's fiction editor, described as a "rewarding accident", the 2010 list includes an equal number of men and women -- a dramatic shift from the 1999 line-up with its five female authors.

Aside from the writers ruled out by their age -- Dave Eggers and Colson Whitehead are both slightly too old -- there are some unusual omissions, most notably Zadie Smith. These idiosyncracies are perhaps explained by the list's pragmatic selection procedure, which demanded a publishable extract or short story from all candidates; those unable to produce one were removed from the running.

Back in 2007, Granta produced its own picks for the top young American authors -- a sequel to its 1996 list. It is perhaps surprising to find so much overlap, with a total of eight authors featuring on both lists.

When the New Yorker's list was last produced in 1999, it included future big-name authors such as David Foster Wallace, Jonathan Franzen and Jhumpa Lahiri, boding well for this year's favoured few.

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On Wheels

A new poem by Patrick Mackie

The hills swarm and soften towards the end of the day just as
flames do in a fireplace as the evening
loosens and breaks open and lets out night.
A nasty, grotesque, impatient year ended,
and the new one will be bitter,
tired, opaque. Words wrangle in every inch of air,
their mouths wide open in stupid shock
at what they have just heard every time they hear anything. Venus,
though, blazes with heavy wobbles of albeit frozen
light. Brecht, who I like to call my
brother just as he called Shelley his,
has a short late poem where he sits by a roadside, waiting
while someone changes the wheel on his car,
watching with impatience, despite not liking
either the place that he is coming from or
the place that he is going to. We call it
connectivity when in truth it is just aggression
and imitation writ ever larger. Poems, though,
are forms of infinite and wry but also briskly
impatient patience. Brecht’s poem seems to end,
for instance, almost before you
can read it. It wheels. The goddess is just a big, bright
wilderness but then soon enough she clothes
herself again in the openness of night and I lose her.

Patrick Mackie’s latest collection, The Further Adventures Of The Lives Of The Saints, is published by CB Editions.

This article first appeared in the 18 May 2017 issue of the New Statesman, Age of Lies

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