The New Yorker On Picking The Top 20 Writers Under 40

06/07/2010 10:25 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • The New Yorker

The habit of list-making can seem arbitrary or absurd, leaving the list-makers endlessly open to second-guessing (although to encourage such second-guessing is perhaps the best reason to make lists). Good writing speaks for itself, and it speaks over time; the best writers at work today are the ones our grandchildren and their grandchildren will read. Yet the lure of the list is deeply ingrained.

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