In response to the New Yorker’s recent “20 Under 40” list of literary fiction writers the magazine’s staff consider to be, or will be “key to their generation,” Ann Arbor, Mich. publisher Dzanc Books has compiled an alternate list of 20 writers “worth watching” – though they’re not necessarily under 40 years of age.
“While it is not the intent of our response to disparage the writers chosen, it is important to point out the flaws of any list which purports to represent an entire body of achievement while having excluded from the very voting process the majority of individuals who work daily with the material under review,” Dzanc executive director Dan Wickett declared in a written statement.
According to Wickett, he and Dzanc publisher Steven Gillis consulted with 100 independent publishers, literary bloggers, agents, and book reviewers all over the country in compiling the alternate list, “this time drawn not from a singularly New York view of publishing but from the wider world of the American independent presses.”
The staff of the New Yorker compiled their list from the “sources they knew best,” Wickett explained, saying that most of the writers included on the New Yorker’s list have either had their stories published in the New Yorker or their books published by the major New York publishing houses.
“We realize that our list reflects its own prejudices, those coming from a different set of sources than those of the New Yorker, but we did attempt to open our list to a far greater body of voters,” Wickett insisted.
The list includes, in alphabetical order:
Matt Bell, author of How They Were Found (Keyhole Press, Oct. 2010), as well as three chapbooks, Wolf Parts (Keyhole Press), The Collectors (Caketrain Press), and How the Broken Lead the Blind (Willows Wept Press).
Blake Butler, author of the novella Ever (Calamari Press) and the short story collection Scorch Atlas (Featherproof Books).
M. Allen Cunningham, author of The Green Age of Asher Witherow (Unbridled Books), and Lost Son (Unbridled Books).
Amelia Gray, author of AM/PM (Featherproof Books), and Museum of the Weird (FC2, Sept. 2010).
Samantha Hunt, author of The Seas (MacAdam/Cage) and The Invention of Everything Else (Houghton Mifflin).
Jamie Iredell, author of three chapbooks: Atlanta (Achilles Chapbook Series), When I Moved to Nevada (Greying Ghost Press), and Before I Moved to Nevada (Publishing Genius), which were combined to create the book Prose. Poems. A Novel (Orange Alert Press).
Kelly Link, author of three collections of short stories, Stranger Things Happen (Small Beer Press), Magic for Beginners (Small Beer Press), and Pretty Monsters (Viking). Link is co-publisher of Small Beer Press.
Norman Lock, author of The King of Sweden (Ravenna Press), Shadowplay (Ellipsis Press), A History of the Imagination (FC2), ‘The Book of Supplemental Diagrams’ for Marco Knauff’s Universe (Ravenna Press), The Long Rowing Unto Morning (Ravenna Press), Two Plays for Radio (Triple Press), and–writing as George Belden–Land of the Snow Men (from Calamari Press and in Japanese from Kawade Shobo).
Gary Lutz, author of the short story collections Stories in the Worst Way (Knopf, 1996, re-released by 3rd Bed in 2002), I Looked Alive (Four Walls Eight Rooms, 2003), and Partial List of People to Bleach (Future Tense Press, 2007).
Sarah Manguson, author of the memoir The Two Kinds of Decay (2008), published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux and Granta Books, and of the story collection Hard to Admit and Harder to Escape (2007), included in McSweeney's One Hundred and Forty-Five Stories in a Small Box. Magnuson’s poetry collections are Siste Viator (2006) and The Captain Lands in Paradise (2002).
Eugene Marten, author of In the Blind (Turtle Point Press), Waste (Ellipsis Press), and Firework (Tyrant Books).
Scott McClanahan, author of two short story collections, Stories (Six Galleries Press) and Stories II (Six Galleries Press).
Mary Miller, author of two short story collections, Less Shiny (Magic Helicopter Press) and Big World (Short Flight Long Drive).
Lydia Millet, author of Omnivores (Workman), George Bush: Dark Prince of Love (Touchstone), My Happy Life (Henry Holt), Everyone's Pretty (Soft Skull Press), Oh Pure and Radiant Heart (Soft Skull Press), and How the Dead Dream (Counterpoint), and the short story collection, Love in Infant Monkeys (Soft Skull Press).
Kyle Minor, author of the short story collection, In the Devil’s Territory (Dzanc Books), from which his novella “A Day Meant to Do Less” was anthologized in Best American Mystery Stories 2008. Minor co-edited the anthology, The Other Chekhov (New American Press), and had an essay published in Twentysomething Essays by Twentysomething Writers (Random House).
Yannick Murphy, author of The Call (forthcoming, HarperPerennial, 2011), Signed, Mata Hari (Little Brown) Here They Come (McSweeney’s), and Sea of Trees (Mariner Books). Her story collections include Stories in Another Language (Knopf) and In a Bear’s Eye (Dzanc Books). Her children's books include The Cold Water Witch (forthcoming, Tricycle Press, Aug.), Baby Polar (Clarion), and Ahwoooooooo! (Clarion). Her story “In a Bear’s Eye” was recently published in the 2007 O. Henry Prize Stories.
Lori Ostlund, author of the story collection, The Bigness of the World (Univ. of Georgia Press).
Benjamin Percy, author of two short story collections, The Language of Elk (Carnegie Mellon University Press), and Refresh, Refresh (Graywolf Press). Percy’s novel, The Wilding, is forthcoming this fall from Graywolf Press. His story “Refresh, Refresh” was anthologized in Pushcart Prize Stories (2007) and Best American Short Stories 2006.
Justin Taylor, the editor of The Apocalypse Reader (Thunder’s Mouth, 2007), and Come Back, Donald Barthelme (McSweeney’s 2007). His own books include a poetry collection, More Perfect Depictions of Noise (X-ing Books, 2008) and a short story collection, Everything Here is the Best Thing Ever (Harper Perennial, 2010).
Laura van den Berg, the author of the story collection, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books).
For a complete explanation of the process Dzanc used to compile its list, refer to the company’s news blog.