A couple of weeks ago, much of the literary world was abuzz when Granta announced their fourth list of “Best of Young British Novelists,” a once-per-decade tradition they started 1983.
Famously, their past lists have spotted the early talent of young authors who have gone on to produce acclaimed work, such as Martin Amis, Pat Barker, Julian Barnes, Rose Tremain, Alan Hollinghurst, Kazuo Ishiguro, A.L. Kennedy, Adam Mars-Jones, Ian McEwan, Will Self, Jeanette Winterson, Monica Ali, Nicola Barker, David Mitchell, and A.L. Kennedy. Oh, she’s here twice; if they’re young enough the first time around they can be selected the next decade as well. Speaking of: Zadie Smith and Adam Thirlwell, whom you’ll find in Granta 123, also made the 2003 list. The authors don’t always go on to great success, of course (in fact, some don’t even go on to write). At any rate, I think it’s worth checking out the authors in the list, seeing which careers I want to follow.
According to the introduction by soon-to-be-departing Granta Editor John Freeman (from Cleveland, Ohio), over 150 authors submitted work for consideration. The general rules are that the writer had to be under forty on the date Granta 123 was published and had to be a British citizen. They bent the rules on that last one for Kamila Shamshie, who is on her way. Freeman says, “But exceptional writers call for exceptions.”
The hub-bub surrounding the list has quieted down, but it’s worth going back and reading the initial response to the current selections (and exclusions). Meanwhile, I will be reading each of the pieces in Granta 123 (most of which are, understandably, excerpts from forthcoming novels), and posting thoughts. As I post, I will update the list below with links.
- “Vipers,” by Kamila Shamsie (reviewed May 2, 2013)
- “Glow,” by Ned Beauman (reviewed May 9, 2013)
- “Anwar Gets Everything,” by Tahmima Anam (reviewed May 17, 2013)
- “Soon and in Our Days,” by Naomi Alderman (reviewed May 29, 2013)
- “Filsan” (reviewed July 13, 2013), by Nadifa Mohamed
- “Europa,” by David Szalay
- “After the Hedland,” by Evie Wyld
- “Driver,” by Taiye Selasi
- “Slow Motion,” by Adam Thirlwell
- “The End of Endings,” by Steven Hall
- “A World Intact,” by Adam Foulds
- “You Don’t Have to Live Like This,” by Benjamin Markovits
- “Tomorrow,” by Joanna Kavenna
- “Just Right,” by Zadie Smith
- “The Reseveration,” by Sarah Hall
- “Interim Zone,” by Xiaolu Guo
- “Boy, Snow, Bird,” by Helen Oyeyemi
- “Zephyrs,” by Jenni Fagan
- “Arrivals,” by Sunjeev Sahota
- “Submersion,” by Ross Raisin