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NYT Lights Candles for Granta Magazine's Top 20 Literary Stars

Helen Oyeymi, author of Icarus Girl, named to Granta's Best of Young British Novelists - peoplewhowrite

Helen Oyeyemi, author of Icarus Girl

Last week, the New York Times accompanied their announcement of Granta Magazine’s “Best of Young British Novelists” list with a fiery photoshoot. Posing with candles and other props including books, spilled coffee, and a baby doll, the shoot seemed to assert that literature’s newest flames will endure. The companion piece pointed out, “The list has come to be regarded as a bellwether in the literary world, since so many of the writers singled out at that early stage of their careers — starting with Martin Amis, Pat Barker and Salman Rushdie — have gone on to great critical and commercial success.”

Taiye Selasi, author Ghana Must Go, named to Granta's Best of Young British Novelists - peoplewhowrite

Taiye Selasi, author of Ghana Must Go

The majority of writers on the latest list, which is revealed every 10 years, “were either born outside Britain or are the children of immigrants”, the NYT notes — not surprising  considering we’re talking about England of the sun-never-sets-on-the-British-empire old glory. At some point, Brits were going to have to acknowledge the incredible diversity they fomented when they went ahead and colonized half the world.

That said, I’m a fan of literary lists that feature fresh talent. I love much of Shakespeare, Buchi Emecheta, Edgar Allen Poe, Ama Ata Aido, Shauna Singh Baldwin, Guy de Mauppassant, Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Chinua Achebe… But we can’t keep looking back for good literature. We need to acknowledge the newbies who will build on the legacy of letters bequeathed by the greats of the past.

Here’s Granta’s list:

  1. Naomi Alderman
  2. Tahmima Anam
  3. Ned Beauman
  4. Jenni Fagan
  5. Adam Foulds
  6. Xiaolu Guo
  7. Sarah Hall
  8. Steven Hall
  9. Joanna Kavenna
  10. Benjamin Markovits
  11. Nadifa Mohamed
  12. Helen Oyeyemi
  13. Ross Raisin
  14. Sunjeev Sahota
  15. Taiye Selasi
  16. Kamila Shamsie
  17. Zadie Smith
  18. David Szalay
  19. Adam Thirlwell
  20. Evie Wyld

BBC posted a great class picture with all of the authors named on the list.

Who’s on your list of top authors?

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9 responses to “NYT Lights Candles for Granta Magazine's Top 20 Literary Stars

  1. Daisy

    Is Taiye Selasi a model? She has these random photo shoots…lol

  2. Daisy

    aah I see now, I just saw read the post 🙂

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