Time 100 includes Haruki Murakami and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The good news: There are a couple of novelists in the Time 100, the magazine’s annual list of the most influential people in the world.

The bad news: There are just a couple. Two.

Japanese author Haruki Murakami is categorized not as an artist but as an icon. “He is a writer of great imagination and human sympathy, one who has enthralled millions of readers by building fictional worlds that are uniquely his,” artist Yoko Ono, an icon herself, writes. “Murakami-san has a singular vision, as informed by pop culture as it is by deep channels of Japanese tradition.”

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is dubbed an artist, the only author to land in the category alongside filmmaker Richard Linklater, actor Chris Pratt, comedian Amy Schumer and fashion designer Alexander Wang. (The lone fine artist is painter Chris Ofili). Of Adichi, Time’s Radhika Jones writes, “It’s the rare novelist who in the space of a year finds her words sampled by Beyoncé, optioned by Lupita Nyong’o and honored with the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction.... Her greatest power is as a creator of characters who struggle profoundly to understand their place in the world.”

When the Nigerian-born Adichie was on tour for her most recent novel “Americanah,” she told the Los Angeles Times, “I feel as though being African, I can laugh at certain things that maybe if I were African American I wouldn’t. I don’t know race in the way an African American knows race. Sometimes it takes an outsider to see something about your own reality that you don’t.”

That both writers on Time’s list come from other nations underscores the magazine’s efforts to create a truly global list. But its artist category is full of American performers, including Bradley Cooper, Julianna Margulies, Julianne Moore and Tim McGraw. To those drawing up the list, American novelists didn’t rise to that level.


At least, not this year.

A third novelist did sneak onto the list: Rachel Kushner, author of the novels “The Flamethrowers” and “Telex From Cuba,” wrote up the Time 100 entry for Cuban President Raul Castro.

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