Inspiring both awe and envy, The New Yorker’s “20 under 40” list has finally been released, after months of media speculation and scrutiny. Though a few critics continue to label the list as a publicity stunt, others are eager to get their hands on the double fiction issue scheduled to hit newsstands on Monday. The list brings together 10 men and 10 women, a number of which hail from countries outside the United States. Only two of the writers who made the list are in their twenties (Karen Russell, 28 and Téa Obreht, 24).
This is the first list compiled since over a decade ago in 1999, when rising literary stars like Jhumpa Lahiri and Junot Diaz were selected by the magazine. Other well-established literary figures like Jeffrey Eugenides and David Foster Wallace also received this honor on an earlier list.
Editor in chief David Remnick told the NY Times that notwithstanding their young ages, the writers have absolutely nothing in common. He said in an interview, “The group is a group of promise, enormous promise. There are people in there that are very conventional in their narrative approach, and there are people who have a big emphasis on voice. There are people who are in some way bringing you the news from another culture.”