The Summer Fiction issue from The New Yorker is on the stands, and this year the editors are focusing on young talent–20 writers under 40. They did this in 1999, and the writers they chose ended up becoming major literary talents. Online, The New Yorker has a nifty profile of all the writers–just click their pictures–along with some interviews. Here’s how the editors say they chose this year’s talent:
We were able to read at least one complete book or manuscript by each writer, and at least a portion of whatever work was coming next. In some cases, we saw an explosion of talent from the first chapter or story: a freshness of perspective, observation, humor, or feeling. In others, we saw a stealthier buildup of thought and linguistic innovation. Some were brilliant at doing one thing. Others made radical shifts of focus and style from one piece to the next. What was notable in all the writing, above and beyond a mastery of language and of storytelling, was a palpable sense of ambition. These writers are not all iconoclasts; some are purposefully working within existing traditions. But they are all aiming for greatness: fighting to get our attention, and to hold it, in a culture that is flooded with words, sounds, and pictures; fighting to surprise, to entertain, to teach, and to move not only us but generations of readers to come.