How Granta Launched the Cultural Obsession With â€œBest Young Novelistâ€ Lists – Slate Magazine
Over the years, that first 20-under-40 list became rather legendary, and itâ€™s not hard to see why. Among the winners Granta picked were Kazuo Ishiguro, Ian McEwan, Rose Tremain, Martin Amis, Pat Barker, Julian Barnes, William Boyd, Graham Swift, and Salman Rushdie (although Rushdie was a bit of a gimme, since heâ€™d already won the Booker Prize for Midnightâ€™s Children.) The journalâ€™s follow-up 10 years later was nearly as impressive, featuring Jeanette Winterson, Alan Hollinghurst, Hanif Kureishi, and Louis de BerniÃ¨res, who would, in the following year, go on to publish the international bestseller Captain Corelliâ€™s Mandolin after several commentators complained that he was one of the listâ€™s most obscure honorees. The 2003 list included Rachel Cusk, Sarah Waters, Hari Kunzru, Monica Ali, David Mitchell, and Zadie Smith (another gimmeâ€”White Teeth came out in 2001). The journal branched out and began publishing an American version in 1996. Lists of the best and the brightest young novelists, the literary equivalent of hot stock tips, became Grantaâ€™s brand.
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