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Posts Tagged ‘John Freeman’

Meet your Granta Best of Young American Novelists

Granta announced its second-ever list of Best of Young American Novelists, comprised of 21 American-based authors aged 35 and under. And what’s immediately apparent, just as with the first list published back in 1996, is how many of them, um, haven’t published novels yet. Which isn’t to say it isn’t a fine list of American writers, but considering Granta publisher Sigrid Rausing went out of her way to namecheck notable writers who didn’t make the cut, like Benjamin Kunkel, Benjamin Markovits and Joshua Ferris, would it have been so difficult to actually restrict the list to those who truly fit the criteria of the title? Or if not, then call a spade a spade; this is the Best of Young American Writers, although that probably isn’t as pretty an acronym.

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In the back row, from the left, judges Edmund White, Meghan O’Rourke (with Paul Yamazaki‘s ear just visible behind her), Matt Weiland of Granta, A.M. Homes, and Sigrid Rausing. In the front, from left, young American novelists John Wray, Akhil Sharma, Rattawut Lapcharoensap, Uzodinma Iweala, Olga Grushin, Karen Russell, Gary Shteyngart, and Gabe Hudson.

Anyway, there was much merriment to be had at the Housing Works announcement party last night. Apart from those writers who appeared for their ceremonial investiture, other boldface names in the crowd included Random House editor-in-chief Daniel Menaker (sporting an unexplained bandage on his nose), Eric Chinski, David Roth-Ey (vying for “tallest man” status with Paul Slovak), Lorraine Adams, Alison Callaghan, Rachel Fershleiser (ably working the joint in her capacity as Housing Works volunteer), John Freeman (when not busily filing wire reports on the LA Times Book Festival Award nominations or Granta’s list), and Wendy Weil…along with a few others Ron photographed.

AP Says Goodbye to Book Review Package

After getting a tip from a publicist at an unnamed publishing house, Editor and Publisher confirmed with the Associated Press that they have terminated their book review package, which featured reviews and book news from Ron Berthel and Bruce DaSilva. “This is a sad turn of events for book reviews. AP reviews, even small, ran far and wide, and always helped sales,” said the anonymous publicist. In a statement released Friday, the wire service’s director of media relations and public affairs, Linda Wagner, explained the move resulted from revamping its Lifestyles coverage to focus “more resources on topics like food and parenting,” though Wagner added that AP “remains as committed as ever” to covering books — via reviews, features about authors, etc. — through its Arts and Entertainment Department, as well as from coverage by its full-time publishing beat reporter, Hillel Italie.

National Book Critics Circle president John Freeman believes the move is “something of a mixed blessing, especially for freelancers,” as in theory, AP’s decision will make it harder for book editors to check the wires for a particular review, and they will have to assign it – or another book entirely – to someone else. In practice, many newspaper sections used wire reviews only, and if that resource no longer there, they might not run reviews at all, thereby contributing even further to newspapers’ belief that books coverage is increasingly irrelevant.

Then again, with such a significant hole to be filled, who’s to say that a group of dedicated arts & culture writers couldn’t band together and form an alternate wire service of thoughtful, informative reviews and commentary that could then be offered to newspapers en masse? It might just be what the book world needs.

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