The New Yorker 20 Under 40

The NY Times reports that the New Yorker 20 Under 40 list has come out.

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 32
  • Chris Adrian, 39
  • Daniel Alarcón, 33
  • David Bezmozgis, 37
  • Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, 38 
  • Joshua Ferris, 35 
  • Jonathan Safran Foer, 33 
  • Nell Freudenberger, 35
  • Rivka Galchen, 34 
  • Nicole Krauss, 35 
  • Yiyun Li, 37 
  • Dinaw Mengestu, 31
  • Philipp Meyer, 36
  • C. E. Morgan, 33
  • Téa Obreht, 24 
  • Z Z Packer, 37
  • Karen Russell, 28 
  • Salvatore Scibona, 35
  • Gary Shteyngart, 37
  • Wells Tower, 37

Maile Meloy didn't make the cut and neither did Miranda July, both of whom I thought had a decent shot. Josh Weil must have been busy writing another novella and didn't have anything to give to them.

Also notable exceptions from the Granta list of Best Young American Novelists: Jess Row and Rattawut Lapcharoensap. And what about Sana Krasikov? 

Even though I didn't have Chris Adrian on my list, because I was uncertain whether he was under 40 (I guess he squeaked under by a few months), I am so glad they included him.

I went for Kirstin Valdez Quade rather than Tea Obreht and was wrong (both rather youthful females who shot it out of the park big-time with an early New Yorker story).

I'm glad to see that Nicole Krauss made the list, or else Jonathan Safran Foer would have had resentment at home.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was an obvious pick that I completely missed.

So overall, I only guessed 11 out of 20, which is better than batting .500 but still not so hot.

No huge surprises, but who are the authors who were NOT shoo-ins for the prize?

  • David Bezmozgis – Technically Canadian. (Or Latvian, if you want to go to country of origin). Faded from literary view as of late, because of work in the film industry, but made a big splash in 2005 for Natasha and Other Stories
  • Sarah Shun-lien Bynum — not really a surprise, since she was a strong contender. Author of "Madeleine is Sleeping" and "Ms. Hempel Chronicles." Finalist for National Book Award and PEN/Faulkner Award.
  • Dinaw Mengestu — Ethiopian writer, author of "The Beautiful Things that Heaven Bears."
  • Philipp Meyer — "American Rust." A solid pick, and right on the heels of his Guggenheim fellowship.
  • C. E. Morgan — a Master's degree in Divinity studies from Harvard, just like Chris Adrian. She's published "All The Living." I think her inclusion might be one of the more surprising New Yorker picks.
  • Salvatore Scibona — another finalist for the National Book Award, with "The End."

The best predictor of making it on this list was not a spot on the Granta List (overlap of 8), but whether the author had a Guggenheim Fellowship. (11 of them did).

This entry was posted in 20 under 40, New Yorker and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

4 thoughts on “The New Yorker 20 Under 40

  1. Skip says:

    11 of 20 is pretty damn good. Nicely done.
    I was really hoping to see C.E. Morgan; I loved ALL THE LIVING, and she was on my personal list of writers to watch. Her inclusion might also have been aided by who her editor and publisher is. Not saying she’s not a worthy choice, but when there are more good choices and slots, sometimes these things matter.

  2. Next says:

    I’m surprised Nam Le didn’t make this list. I thought his collection was incredible. I wonder if he is over forty.

  3. BookFox says:

    Skip — I would have put Chris Adrian on for sure if I knew he was under 40. So I tell myself I got 12. :)
    Next — Nam Le’s under forty, but I think he’s considered Australian/ Vietnamese.

  4. Bruce Deane says:

    This is a somewhat international list, so I think Nam Le certainly belongs on it. Anyway, isn’t he now a domestic writer? It’s not like his work is translated into English or something.
    I also loved All the Living. The only surprising thing about Morgan’s inclusion is that a writer without an MFA, who basically shuns publicity, and lives in the middle of nowhere can get on a New Yorker list. That’s a good sign.
    I suspect that in coming weeks we’ll be hearing why a few writers were not included on the list, perhaps because they didn’t have fresh material? Zadie Smith, Name Le, etc.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Note: If you are replying to another commenter, click the "Reply to {NAME} ↵" button under their comment!