With each passing year, it struck me as a diminishment for literary culture to peer into the future of writing but immediately restrict its keyhole to a nationality—or a genre. What happens if you take these restrictions off, and start reading across generations?
In that spirit The Future of New Writing issue of Freeman’s was born, and for the past two years, sometimes haphazardly or by luck, but with increasing direction, I have gathered names (see below), called in texts, bought and borrowed books, and read with the goal of trying to find out who were the best emerging writers.
Passing what I liked or thought I liked on to Allison Malecha, we read the work of over 100 writers, and relied upon the advice of hundreds of writers and critics, translators, bookstore owners, festival directors, publishers and academics.
I preferred this method to a jury because it would allow us to include writers who were strange or provoked strong reactions, the kinds of writers prone to rejection by consensus decisions.
Choosing the list this way also mimicked the fashion by which literature travels in general—less on an express train to a judge and jury, where it must account for itself, but hitchhiking from one fellow-traveler to another.
So here are 29 passengers we think will continue to be traveling into the future—perhaps even define it.
A Yi · Garnette Cadogan · Elaine Castillo · Marius Chivu · Mariana Enríquez · Athena Farrokhzad · Daniel Galera · Johan Harstad · Ishion Hutchinson · Tania James · Mieko Kawakami · Édouard Louis · Valeria Luiselli · Fiona McFarlane · Dinaw Mengestu · Nadifa Mohamed · Sayaka Murata · Heather O’Neill · Pola Oloixarac · Diego Enrique Osorno · Ross Raisin · Sunjeev Sahota · Samanta Schweblin · David Searcy · Solmaz Sharif · Andrés Felipe Solano · Ocean Vuong · Claire Vaye Watkins · Xu Zechen
The Future of New Writing will be launched in New York City, Thursday October 5th at the New School, 66 West 12th Street ,with Garnette Cadogan, Elaine Castillo, Valeria Luiselli and Dinaw Mengestu. Tickets are available here.
Not in New York? Catch Freeman and various contributors in Vancouver, San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Boston, Houston, Austin, Portland (OR), Colgate University, and Vassar College.