“Welcome to Granta’s Most Promising Writers Under Forty event. Oh, you’re one of the writers? So pleased to meet you. I’ll take your coat. It’s just through there.” Writer steps through darkened entrance, topples into chasm.
Until recently that was my attitude to Granta’s famous list of bright young literary things. I used to scan the handsome, healthy faces of the chosen ones and, weeping with envy, plan to murder them with my bare hands, so help me god. That is no longer the case however given they’ve had the good taste to include the wonderful Jenni Fagan on the list this time around. If you haven’t read her novel The Panopticon, it’s exceptional. There are inevitably so many great writers left out (Lars Iyer, Christiana Spens, Lee Rourke, Ben Myers, Adam Biles…) but it’s a delight to see someone with real talent be recognised. She’s just been interviewed in The Scotsman on the origins of her novel and a hint of what’s to come. There’s also a great portrait of her today in the New York Times. If you’re like me and you tend to mainly read old dead bastards, it’s quite rare to see the work of a great writer unfold in real-time. Now’s your chance.