Granta: Best of Young American Novelists, Third Edition


On Wednesday, April 26, Granta magazine announced its third list of Best of Young American Novelists, comprising the country’s most outstanding writers under age 40. The list, released G139 COVER BOYANevery ten years, was chosen this year by a panel that included Man Booker short-listed Patrick deWitt, Baileys Prize winner A.M. Homes, Pulitzer Prize finalist Kelly Link, three-time Pushcart Prize winner Ben Marcus, and Granta’s editor and publisher, Sigrid Rausing. Released worldwide on May 4, Granta 139: Best of Young American Novelists 3 will feature work by all the writers.

The list includes a nice mix of household names and writers who are just emerging. Established writers range from National Book Award (NBA) finalists Lauren Groff and Karan Mahajan to Dinaw Mengestu, a MacArthur fellow previously named a National Book Foundation (NBF) 5 Under 35 and New Yorker 20 Under 40 author. Yaa Gyasi and Anthony Marra won the National Book Critics Circle’s (NBCC) John Leonard Prize, given for a first book; Gyasi was also named an NBF 5 Under 35 author, as were Greg Jackson and the multi-award-winning Claire Vaye Watkins. Marra was also a finalist for the NBCC fiction award.

Recent debut authors on the list include Halle Butler, whose Jillian was called the “feel-bad book of the year” by the Chicago Tribune; Esmé Weijun Wang, whose The Border of Paradise was praised as “heartbreaking [and] well-wrought” by LJ; and Mark Doten, the literary fiction editor at Soho Press, whose The Infernal was hailed by a critic in the New York Times Book Review as “the most audaciously imaginative political novel I’ve ever read.” Jen George has yet to publish a novel, but her story collection, The Babysitter at Rest, was given best book honors by the Believer, Electric Literature, Entropy, and more.

Below are brief biographies of all the authors citing their most recently published novels.

Jesse Ball (How To Set a Fire and Why, Pantheon), the author of six novels as well as poetry and prose collections, won the Paris Review Plimpton Prize for the story “The Early Deaths of Lubeck, Brennan, Harp, and Carr” and was long-listed for the NBA.jillian

Halle Butler (Jillian, Curbside Splendor) has also cowritten screenplays (Crimes Against Humanity, Neighborhood Food Drive).

Emma Cline (The Girls, Random) was awarded the Paris Review Plimpton Prize for the story “Marion” and was short-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and the NBCC’s John Leonard Prize for her debut novel The Girls.

Joshua Cohen (Book of Numbers, Random) is the author of four novels, with Book of Numbers named a Best Book by the Wall Street Journal, Vulture, and NPR. Moving Kings is forthcoming from Random in July.

Mark Doten (The Infernal, Graywolf) is the recipient of fellowships from the MacDowell Colony and Columbia University, where he completed an MFA.dotenmark

Jen George (The Babysitter at Rest, Dorothy, a publishing project) has been published in BOMB, Harper’s, the Los Angeles Review of Books, n+1, and the Paris Review Daily.

Rachel B. Glaser (Paulina & Fran, Harper Perennial) won McSweeney’s Amanda Davis Highwire Fiction Award and is also the author of short fiction and poetry.

Lauren Groff (Fates and Furies, Riverhead) was an NBA and NBCC finalist for Fates and Furies and was short-listed for the Orange Prize for The Monsters of Templeton.

Yaa Gyasi (Homegoing, Knopf) won the NBCC’s John Leonard Prize and the PEN/ Hemingway Award and was named an NBF 5 Under 35 author. Homegoing was named a best book by over a dozen venues.gyasi

Garth Risk Hallberg (City on Fire, Knopf), debuted with City on Fire, named a Best Book by the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, and NPR and has an illustrated novella, A Field Guide to the North American Family, forthcoming from Knopf in October.

Greg Jackson (Prodigals, Farrar) was named an NBF 5 Under 35 author and has been a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center, the MacDowell Colony, and the University of Virginia.

Sana Krasikov (The Patriots, Spiegel & Grau), a Fulbright Scholar and also author of the story collection One More Year, has published in The New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Epoch, and Zoetrope. See an LJ interview with Krasikov.

Catherine Lacey (Nobody Is Ever Missing, FSG Originals) won a Whiting Award and was a finalist for the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award. The Answers is forthcoming from Farrar in lernerJune.

Ben Lerner (10:04, Farrar) won the Paris Review‘s Terry Southern Prize for 10:14, which was named a Best Book by nearly two dozen venues. Lerner is a Hayden Carruth Award–winning author of poetry as well.

Karan Mahajan (The Association of Small Bombs, Viking) is the author of Family Planning and The Association of Small Bombs, winner of the Anisfield-Wolf Award and an NBA and NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award finalist.

Anthony Marra (A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Random) is author of the story collection The Tsar of Love and Techno, winner of the American Academy of Arts and Letters Rosenthal Family Foundation Award and an NBCC finalist. A Constellation of Vital Phenomena won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and the NBCC’s inaugural John Leonard Prize.

Dinaw Mengestu (All Our Names, Knopf), a MacArthur Fellow, received the 2007 Guardian First Book Award and was named an NBF 5 Under 35 and New Yorker 20 Under 40 author. All eileenOur Names was selected as a best book by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Daily Beast, and NPR.

Ottessa Moshfegh (Eileen, Penguin Pr.) is the author of McGlue, which won the inaugural  Fence Modern Prize in Prose, and the short story collection Homesick for Another World. Eileen won the PEN/Hemingway Award and was short-listed for the Man Booker Prize and the NBCC Award.

Chinelo Okparanta (Under the Udala Trees, Houghton Harcourt) is also the author of the story collection Happiness, Like Water and an O. Henry Award and two-time Lambda Literary Award winner. Under the Udala Trees was long-listed for the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize and nominated for an NAACP Image Award in Fiction and an Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Fiction.

Esmé Weijun Wang (The Border of Paradise, Unnamed) is winner of the the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize. Her debut novel, The Border of Paradise, was included in LJ’s Top Spring Indie Fiction and Lit Hub’s Books To Read in April.

Claire Vaye Watkins (Gold Fame Citrus, Riverhead), named an NBF 5 Under 35 author, won watkinsThe Story Prize and the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters for her story collection Battleborn, a multiple best-book winner. Gold Fame Citrus was also named a best book by 16 venues.





Barbara Hoffert About Barbara Hoffert

Barbara Hoffert (, @BarbaraHoffert on Twitter) is Editor, LJ Prepub Alert; past chair of the Materials Selection Committee of the RUSA (Reference and User Services Assn.) division of the American Library Association; and past president, treasurer, and awards chair of the National Book Critics Circle.

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