The New Yorker has made public its list of 20 notable fiction writers
younger than 40. For those counting at home, the list includes 10 women
and 10 men; two writers in their twenties and 18 in their thirties; and
authors from Russia, Nigeria, China, and Canada, among other places.
Such lists inevitably inspire some degree of unhappiness among people
who didn't make the cut, but the Web has produced dueling guides for
anyone whose ego may have been stung.
- The List The New York Times reprints the list in full: "Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, 32; Chris Adrian, 39; Daniel Alarcón, 33; David Bezmozgis, 37; Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, 38; Joshua Ferris, 35; Jonathan Safran Foer, 33; Nell Freudenberger, 35; Rivka Galchen, 34; Nicole Krauss, 35; Yiyun Li, 37; Dinaw Mengestu, 31; Philipp Meyer, 36; C. E. Morgan, 33; Téa Obreht, 24; Z Z Packer, 37; Karen Russell, 28; Salvatore Scibona, 35; Gary Shteyngart, 37; and Wells Tower, 37."
- A Whiner's Guide Gawker's Max Read thoughtfully draws up some talking points for the snarkier set. "You probably hate [the list] already, without even knowing who's on it," Read writes. "But how can you complain about it, without looking jealous and bitter?" Read offers a number of ways you can undercut the list without being obvious about it. "DON'T spend more than 200 words or five minutes talking about it. DO use the phrase 'for what it is' as much as possible. Sample: For what it is, this is great! For what it is."
- Seriously Though, Don't Get Bent Out of Shape The Awl's Choire Sicha takes a more positive-minded approach. "Some people being 'elevated' (dubious usage) or singled out doesn't harm anyone else," he points out in a list of "Affirmations for Fiction Writers." Also? "If you're lucky, you're like me, and impulses towards envy are motivational to you. I have a competitive streak and when someone shows some 'success' (which, by the way, never feels much or for long like success when it's you), that means it's time to get to work." Sicha also draws an interesting conclusion from the list's age ceiling: "Hooray, 'under 40' is young now! I mean, 'being in the first or early stage of life or growth'? Our culture has delayed adolescence so extraordinarily far that 39 is young! Fine by me, selfishly."