Granta’s Best Young British Novelists List is diverse, exciting

Jenni Fagan
Category: Reading

Last night, Granta revealed their decennial list of the Best Young British Novelists. Speculation has been on a high in the lead up to the announcement, with people wondering if we would see an increase in women, an increase in ethnic diversity, or an increase in Scottish writers.

We even talked about it last month, and asked you for your hot tips. Names were bandied about, cases made, and then last night came the big reveal. In my opinion, the results did not disappoint.

This year’s list offers up 20 writers with a range of backgrounds, lifestyles and experiences, but one thing in common – the quality of their writing. A quick look at the backgrounds of authors included is almost like a whistle-stop world tour: Bangladesh, Scotland, China, Somalia, Nigeria, Ghana, India, Pakistan, Jamaica, Canada, America, Australia. I guess this says something about the sorts of voices today’s readers are searching for.

Though there is only one Scottish writer – the excellent Jenni Fagan – the list presents a picture of a multicultural Britain which I hope will be continued among the big hitters of literature in years to come.

Another exciting note is that though Fagan may be the only Scot, she represents one woman of twelve featured on the list. This is the first time the coveted Granta list has ever featured more women than men, which again is a sign of the changing times. In a world where female writers struggle to have their work considered for publication and then face issues over marketing their work to a literary audience, this is a clear indicator that the women are out there, they are producing work and they are good!

We recently featured Jenni Fagan, author of The Panopticon, on our ‘Bookmarked’ podcast. If you’d like to hear her speak, and find out which books she would recommend for people who are short on time, listen here!

We also featured an interview another of the writers who made the list, Ned Beauman, on our Book Talk podcast last year, along with a review of his debut novel Boxer Beetle - listen here. 

The full list of authors chosen are as follows:

  • Naomi Alderman
  • Tahmima Anam
  • Ned Beauman
  • Jenni Fagan
  • Adam Foulds
  • Xiaolu Guo
  • Sarah Hall
  • Steven Hall
  • Joanna Kavenna
  • Benjamin Markovits
  • Nadifa Mohamed
  • Helen Oyeyemi
  • Ross Raisin
  • Sunjeev Sahota
  • Taiye Selasi
  • Kamila Shamsie
  • Zadie Smith
  • David Szalay
  • Adam Thirlwell
  • Evie Wyld

What do you think of the class of 2013? Is there anyone you wish had made the list? Let us know in the comments below!

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Want to know what Jenni Fagan reads? Check out her book list here

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