90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Top Young Fiction Writers

The New Yorker names its top writers under 40. Three talk to us.

From left: Joshua Ferris, Yiyun Li, Nell Freudenberger (Credits: author Websites; Freudenberg picture by Marion Ettinger)

How do you pick the very best young fiction writers in North America? Not easy. 

The New Yorker magazine did it last week, naming twenty under age 40 as the best of the best, for a mastery of language and storytelling and – beyond that – “a palpable sense of ambition.” 

We have three of the twenty with us today. Joshua Ferris. Yiyun Li. Nell Freudenberger. And we’ve got questions. 

Are they looking to step into the shoes of big writers just gone? Mailer? Updike? J.D. Salinger? Or are they looking to make new shoes?  Like what? 

This Hour, On Point: top writers of literary fiction under 40.

Guests:

Joshua Ferris, 35, is an American writer and author of “Then We Came To the End” and “The Unnamed.” Read an excerpt from “The Unnamed.”

Yiyun Li, 37, is a Chinese-American writer and assistant professor of English at the University of California – Davis. She’s author of “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers” and “The Vagrants.” Read an excerpt from “The Vagrants.”

Nell Freudenberger, 35, is an American writer and author of “Lucky Girls” and “The Dissident.” Read an excerpt from “The Dissident” (go to the Table of Contents and scroll to Chapters).

More:

Check out the full New Yorker list of the top 20 fiction writers under 40. And read the New York Times’ Sam Tanenhaus’ critique of the premise of the New Yorker list.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Mar 31, 2015
Some of the hundreds of people who gathered outside the Indiana Statehouse on Saturday, March 28, 2015, for a rally against legislation signed Thursday by Gov. Mike Pence stand on the Statehouse's south steps during the 2-hour-long rally. (AP)

Indiana’s controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Critics call it anti-gay. Business leaders say bad for the economy. The governor’s not backing down. We’ll dive in.

Mar 31, 2015
Jazz icon Billie Holiday performs in New York City's Club Downbeat in February 1947.  (Library of Congress / Creative Commons)

A meditation on the life and music of Billie Holiday. The lady who sang the blues.

RECENT
SHOWS
Mar 30, 2015
Sweet Briar College, an all-women's liberal arts college in Virginia, announced in early 2015 that it would unexpectedly close its doors at the end of the school year. (Courtesy Sweet Brian College)

Fareed Zakaria weighs the value of a liberal arts education in our technology-driven time.

 
Mar 30, 2015
A stele and flowers laid in memory of the victims are placed in the area where the Germanwings jetliner crashed in the French Alps, in Le Vernet, France, Friday, March 27, 2015. The crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 into an Alpine mountain, which killed all 150 people aboard, has raised questions about the mental state of the co-pilot. (AP)

The pilot who crashed his plane in the Alps. What we know now. And what to do about pilots’ psychological health.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Our Week In The Web: March 27, 2015
Friday, Mar 27, 2015

More on the incessant email debate, plus some goats living their best lives and the sad allure of Manhattan’s shuttered Pommes Frites.

More »
Comment
 
Mobile Payments Offer Convenience If You Keep Your Email Safe
Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

Thinking about moving your wallet to your phone? You can! And maybe you should? But TechCrunch senior writer Josh Constine has a few things to tell you before you do.

More »
1 Comment
 
Using Technology To Get Your Kids Outside
Thursday, Mar 26, 2015

The latest and greatest — using apps to make natural exploration more fun for your kids.

More »
Comment