Thursday, March 29, 2007

BBC Interview

Earlier this month I took part in a brief interview on the BBC radio show the Today Programme, along with GRANTA editor Ian Jack; we debated the length of my acknowledgements. (For those who don't know--I have four pages of them in my book. Maybe in an upcoming post I'll talk about this in more depth.) Had a great time, even though it meant staying up late here on Pacific time. Thanks to Ian for setting it up--very gracious of him, actually, to give me a small shot at a rebuttal.

The irony of it was, I got contacted after the interview by an old friend, Susan, who I'd lost touch with--turns out she'd moved to England. She found this page, said hello . . . and then I got to tell her she was in the acknowledgements I'd been discussing.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

It Burns Us, Precious

[Even newer] colors for the blog! Lori in Chicago says the old format hurt her eyes, but I think really it was her feelings.

This is, incidentally, why I do not work in design.

Complaints about the new colors? Leave a post...

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Best Young American Novelists

I finally get to reveal news I've been sitting on for a few months: I've been chosen for GRANTA's 2007 Best Young American Novelists list. I first heard in November, when Ian Jack called to let me know the news; I then spent a month and a half working on a piece for the forthcoming issue in support of the list, due out at the end of April. The story is called "That First Time," and is, I'd say, similar in tone to the ones in WE'RE IN TROUBLE.

I still don't know what to say about this. I'm honored, I'm humbled (especially given my fellow listmates; see below), and still more or less in disbelief. Ten years ago I used the last list to guide my reading tastes, and now to find myself on the other side of the page is . . .

Here, I'll tell you what it's like to be on GRANTA's Best Young American Novelists list: you spend a long time fussing around with your blog posts, knowing you're supposed to be terrific at self-expression, before finally shrugging and copping out with an ellipsis.

Normally at this point I'd start spewing thanks, but since Ian Jack took me to task for just that behavior in a recent GRANTA introduction, I'll have to sit tight and communicate it telepathically.

(Fingers pressed to temples, staring furiously at the horizon and beyond, toward London; Ian Jack stirs in his sleep and mutters, 'That grateful bastard,' before resuming his fitful slumber.)

To the rest of the presumably less-thanks-averse judges--A.M. Homes, Meghan O'Rourke, Edmund White, Paul Yamazaki, and Sigrid Rausing: I am deeply, deeply grateful.

So what's next? Some tour dates, possibly, depending on many factors. I'll post any appearances the moment I know them.

I do want to congratulate my listmates before I sign off. Here, as promised, is the lineup:

Daniel Alarcon
Judy Budnitz
Kevin Brockmeier
Anthony Doerr
Jonathan Safran Foer
Nell Freudenberger
Olga Grushin
Dara Horn
Gabe Hudson
Uzodinma Iweala
Nicole Krauss
Rattawut Lapcharoensap
Yiyun Li
Maile Meloy
ZZ Packer
Jess Row
Karen Russell
Akhil Sharma
Gary Shteyngart
John Wray

I wish I could say I've already voraciously consumed every book by every author on that list, but I haven't. Seems this one's going to guide me just as the last one did.

Lastly: A quick shout-out to Anthony Doerr--I found out the full list when everyone else did, but I'm proud to say I guessed Tony's place here pretty easily. He is a fine writer and a gentleman. He is the Artist Formerly Known as Snowflake. Go read him; go read them (us!) all.

Now I'd better go write something.