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.


Scott said...

Hi, Chris.

Awesome! Way to go!

What I really want to see you blog about, though, is the piece in Harper's (excerpted from where, I don't remember -- maybe the intro to the new Granta volume?) in which Ian Jack says some pretty, um, interesting things about books of fiction with long acknowledgements and picks out one anonymous book of fiction in particular to, um, critique.

I was hoping you might be able to help me figure out what that one anonymous book of fiction might be, is all.

Hee hee.

Keep it up. Your career and your writing are both, to borrow a word from one of our former professors, exemplary. Can't wait to read the new story.


Cash said...

I just read the story, and I wanted to say it's my favourite thing in there. I'm off to buy the book!

Leonardo said...

Some days ago I bought the spanish version of GRANTA (I'm spanish) and I enjoyed a lot your "Aquella primera vez" -my favourite of the whole issue.

Now, searching for more of your writting, I find this blog.

Your story is a wonderful masterpiece: Thank you.

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