The British literary magazine Granta unveiled its Best of Young American Novelists list on Wednesday, honoring 21 U.S. writers younger than 40. Fiction by the selected authors will appear in the magazine's 139th issue.
Many of the writers, despite their comparative youth, have already reached achieved commercial success. Garth Risk Hallberg landed a $2-million book deal for his 2013 opus, “City on Fire”; Emma Cline also got $2 million for a three-book deal, beginning with 2016’s “The Girls.” In 2015, Yaa Gyasi’s debut, “Homegoing,” was the subject of a bidding war at the London Book fair; Knopf paid seven figures.
And many are already on the radar of prize juries. Ottessa Moshfegh was a Man Booker finalist for her novel “Eileen.” Chinelo Okparanta has twice won the Lambda Literary Award for lesbian fiction. Claire Vaye Watkins won the Story Prize and the international Dylan Thomas Prize for her collection “Battleborn.” Anthony Marra won the National Book Critics Circle’s inaugural John Leonard Prize for first book in 2014 (which Gyasi has also recieved) and was a recipient of the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, as was Karan Mahajan, whose novel “The Association of Small Bombs” was a finalist for the National Book Award.
Another National Book Award finalist on the list is Lauren Groff, whose “Fates and Furies” was endorsed by then-President Obama. And in 2016, Gyasi, along with Greg Jackson, were two of the National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35 honorees.
Two of the authors named to Granta’s list — Ben Lerner and Dinaw Mengestu — have received many honors, including the MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, commonly called the “Genius” awards.
Rounding out this year’s list are Esmé Weijun Wang; Jesse Ball, who has received a Guggenheim Fellowship; Catherine Lacey, one of the Times’ 2017 Faces to Watch; filmmaker and author Halle Butler; Joshua Cohen; Mark Doten; Jen George; Rachel B. Glaser; and Sana Krasikov.
This is the third time Granta has dedicated an issue to young American novelists. The magazine first published the list in 1996, with now-familiar names like Sherman Alexie, Lorrie Moore and Elizabeth McCracken making the cut. In 2007, the list included authors Daniel Alarcón, Yiyun Li, Karen Russell and Gary Shteyngart.
The complete list of Granta’s Best Young American Novelists for 2017 is below.
Rachel B. Glaser
Garth Risk Hallberg
Esmé Weijun Wang
Claire Vaye Watkins