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Posts Tagged ‘Ian Jack’

Scene @ Granta Young Novelists Party

grantaparty.jpgTypically, relying on a cameraphone to convey the joie de vivre at Cafe Loup last night after nine of Granta‘s Best Young American Novelists read and spoke about their work at the New School‘s Tishman Auditorium leads to blurry, non-specific photographs like the one to the left. But even if the persons captured are hard to identify (Nell Freudenberger‘s in the center, that’s about all who is recognizable) those who attended both reading and afterparty generally had themselves a good time. I got to the reading on the late side, missing out on readings by Gary Shteyngart (whose oratory skills convinced at least one reader to pick up a copy of ABSURDISTAN), Olga Grushin, Akhil Sharma and Daniel Alarcon – handpicked by Ian Jack and Matt Weiland to read on the alleged grounds that they wrote non-American settings, or were born outside of America, depending on whom was asked (when I asked Jack and Weiland about it, each deferred to the other, which was actually pretty funny.)

The other five – Freudenberger, Jess Row, John Wray, Uzodinma Iweala and Gabe Hudson – didn’t read but took questions from the audience. One that elicited the most amusing answers was the old standby “why do you write?” Because, evidently, that’s all they can do or, as Shteyngart and Wray explained, they had been fired from any other job each tried.

An early beeline to Cafe Loup along with Lizzie Skurnick, Kathy Daneman and Rachel Grady (co-director of JESUS CAMP) meant exchanging greetings with Kate Lee, Elizabeth Spiers and Sloane Crosley, who were having dinner with Whit Stillman. (I also thought I spotted Ian Spiegelman at the far end of the table.)

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Granta Picks Cowley as Editor; More on “Young Americans” issue

The Bookseller reported yesterday that Granta has appointed Jason Cowley as the editor of its magazine, replacing Ian Jack, the magazine’s editor since 1995. Cowley, editor of Observer Sport Monthly, former literary editor of New Statesman and a long-time contributing editor for Prospect, will join Granta in September. “My challenge is to ensure that it plays a major role in the culture at large while continuing to publish writing of the highest distinction and introducing new voices,” Cowley said.

Meanwhile, Granta issue 97 – aka the “Best of Young American Novelists” issue – got even more attention over the weekend courtesy the LA Times’ Scott Timberg and the Guardian’s Ed Pilkington. In Timberg’s piece, the focus is on the list’s ethnic diversity but its class homogenaiety. “In America all class analysis is forbidden,” judge Edmund White wrote in his assessment. “It’s as if the conflict and alienation offered in, say, the British novel by encounters with members of other, lower social classes are replaced in America by contrasts of First and Third World cultures.” Well actually, we beg to differ, but then one could argue the so-called homogenaiety is entirely due to looking at the genre of books called literary fiction and not reaching out to crime fiction (where the social novel has migrated) or science fiction and fantasy or graphic novels, where a great many exciting novelists ages 35 or under are paying their dues….