Books Jacket Copy

George Saunders, Hilary Mantel among Time's 100 most influential

Fiction writers don't often get credit for their influence on the world -- it is often invisible and unheralded. But among those on Time magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world, released Thursday, were two surprising names: short story maven George Saunders and novelist Hilary Mantel. 

They keep company with "Leaders," (President Obama, Wayne LaPierre, Kim Jong Un), "Titans" (Jay-Z, LeBron James, Elon Musk) and "Icons" (Malala Yousafzai, Lena Dunham, Gabrielle Giffords) whom Time judged have held sway this year. The two writers are included in the "Artists" category, which also includes Christina Aguilera, Steven Spielberg and Jennifer Lawrence, among others.

Poet and memoirist Mary Karr profiles Saunders in the Time issue, writing that his work "is a stiff tonic for the vapid agony of contemporary living -- great art from the greatest guy." Karr praises Saunders' modesty, humor, and "bristly mustache of a Russian cavalry officer." Saunders, a master of the short form (most recently the story “Fox 8”), has received a great deal of attention this year since the publication of his collection "The Tenth of December.” 

Mantel is profiled by biographer Claire Tomalin, who praises the British writer's "power, wit, and intelligence." Mantel's inclusion in the Time 100 comes as the cherry on top of a very good week -- one that saw the novelist shortlisted for both the Women's Prize for Fiction and the Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction for her book "Bringing Up the Bodies."

A large number of the other honorees have also written books in the course of their careers. New author Sheryl Sandberg is included in the "Titans" list (no surprise there -- her book "Lean In" not only generated its own media frenzy pre-publication, but it also now tops both the bestseller lists), with a profile by feminist icon Gloria Steinem. Comedian Mindy Kaling, whose second book should be out, as she put it, "in like a year and a half," was also included. Lena Dunham and Malala Yousafzai, who are also on the list, have books coming out later this year.


The Festival of Books app is ready for download

Tomas Rivera Conference celebrates 25th anniversary

Granta's Best Young British Novelists are coming ... to L.A.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
Related Content
  • Introducing the Los Angeles Times map of Literary Los Angeles
    Introducing the Los Angeles Times map of Literary Los Angeles

    Just in time for the upcoming Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, The Times' books staff has created an interactive map of Literary Los Angeles, a work in progress. We’ve gathered passages from more than two dozen books set in and around L.A., as well as literary landmarks and local...

  • Adam Johnson wins the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for 2013
    Adam Johnson wins the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for 2013

    The Pulitzer Prize in fiction, announced Monday, has been awarded to Adam Johnson for his book set in North Korea, "The Orphan Master's Son." The committee described the book as "an exquisitely crafted novel that carries the reader on an adventuresome journey into the depths of totalitarian...

  • Pulitzer Prize: The fiction winners
    Pulitzer Prize: The fiction winners

    The Pulitzer Prize in fiction is often awarded to a writer whose work deserves greater exposure. Then again, in 2012 the committee declined to give the prize to anyone -- and if that implies that no books that year were deserving, well, that wouldn't be right. Here are recent Pulitzer Prize...

  • New L.A. reading series asks: Fact or fiction?
    New L.A. reading series asks: Fact or fiction?

    In the past, fiction disguised as fact has infuriated readers. Oprah Winfrey took James Frey to task for the exaggerations in his not-entirely-true memoir "A Million Little Pieces." Author Misha Defonseca was ordered by a court to return $22.5 million for her fabricated memoir of being a Jewish...

  • Keeping literature dirty
    Keeping literature dirty

    I was almost sorry to see the developers of the Clean Reader app — which would have allowed squeamish or morally didactic readers to remove profanity from books — take “immediate action to remove all books from our catalogue” last week, in response to authors...

  • The strange, true tale of the naked bookseller
    The strange, true tale of the naked bookseller

    In Quartzsite, Ariz., at the sprawling Reader's Oasis bookshop, readers can purchase their books from a man known as the naked bookseller. Also known as Paul Winer or Sweet Pie, the naked bookseller has been selling books for 24 years.

  • Emily St. John Mandel's 'Station Eleven' wins the Tournament of Books
    Emily St. John Mandel's 'Station Eleven' wins the Tournament of Books

    It's been a good few months for Emily St. John Mandel. Her novel "Station Eleven" was a finalist for the National Book Award, and landed on the PEN/Faulkner shortlist and the longlist of the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction. Even George R.R. Martin is a fan. And now: Here comes the Rooster.

  • New 'Dragon Tattoo' Girl book cover revealed
    New 'Dragon Tattoo' Girl book cover revealed

    It's a banner day for fans of Lisbeth Salander: The girl with the dragon tattoo is returning in "The Girl in the Spider's Web." The book will hit shelves Sept. 1; its cover was released today by Knopf.