Adichie, Catton, Kushner, & Tartt on Baileys Longlist

Rachel Kushner, author of The Flamethrowers, has been longlisted for the Baileys Prize for Women's Fiction - peoplewhowrite

Rachel Kushner

The longlist for the 2014 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction has been announced and it boasts Donna Tartt whose novel The Goldfinch has sat atop pretty much every “Best of 2013” list, Man Booker Prizewinner Eleanor Catton, and Chimamanda Adichie whose third novel Americanah has been right there with Tartt’s on the love lists and enjoyed a bump in attention and sales when Beyonce sampled the author’s TEDx speech on feminism. Also in contention are Pulitzer Prizewinner Elizabeth Strout, Rachel Kushner, and Elizabeth Gilbert who has tirelessly promoted her latest novel The Signature of All Things with a focus on bringing along the legion of readers who made her memoir Eat, Pray, Love a juggernaut success.

The Prize’s five judges–“Mary Beard, Professor of Classics at the University of Cambridge, writer Denise Mina, Times columnist, author and screenwriter, Caitlin Moran and BBC broadcaster and journalist, Sophie Raworth…chaired by former Managing Director of Penguin Books UK and Chief Executive of the Girls’ Day School Trust, Helen Fraser”–will cull the 20 books listed below to six, before the winner is announced on June 4, 2014.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
MaddAddam by Margaret Atwood
The Dogs of Littlefield by Suzanne Berne
The Shadow of the Crescent Moon by Fatima Bhutto
The Bear by Claire Cameron
Eleven Days by Lea Carpenter
The Strangler Vine by M.J. Carter
The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton
Reasons She Goes to the Woods by Deborah Kay Davies
The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert
Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner
The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Undertaking by Audrey Magee
A Girl Is A Half-Formed Thing by Eimear McBride
Almost English by Charlotte Mendelson
Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen
The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout
The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
All The Birds, Singing by Evie Wyld

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?