New York City has long been recognized as an epicenter of the literary world. Home to numerous book publishers and the persons they attract - authors and editors, copy editors and proofreaders, book designers and booksellers, agents and publicists - New York is a veritable hotbed of big shots and up-and-comers in the book business. Flavorwire profiled those comprising the city's literati in its list of "New York's 100 Most Important Living Writers."
One of the reasons that drove Flavorwire to put this list together - aside from stirring up a bit of debate, I imagine - was a recent announcement made by Philip Roth. The much-lauded writer of Goodbye, Columbus, Portnoy's Complaint, Sabbath's Theater, American Pastoral, Everyman, and other impactful books stated in October 2012 that he was going to retire after more than 50 years of producing works of literature. News of Roth's retirement led Flavorwire to "look at some of New York City's most important writers, from Roth's contemporaries to his possible successors...taking into consideration their legacy, their publishing history, and their cultural relevance across the board."
Among those who Flavorwire listed in its "New York's 100 Most Important Living Writers" article are Junot Diaz, Zadie Smith, Chuck Klosterman, Patti Smith, Pete Hamill, Walter Mosley, Jonathan Safran Foer, Joan Didion, Gary Shteyngart, Paul Auster, and more. Despite some notable names being absent (I would have included Toni Morrison and Arthur Nersesian), the list is an impressive who's who of writers who are either from New York City or live in one of its five boroughs (although I'm guessing that most live in Manhattan or Brooklyn).
Besides presenting brief profiles of these writers, Flavorwire also interviewed some, asking questions including "How do you feel about Philip Roth retiring?", "Who is your favorite emerging New York writer?", and "What's next for you?" Their answers are touching, unexpected, and quite entertaining. (One of my favorite answers is Sam Lipsyte's response to the question, "How do you feel about Philip Roth retiring?" He said, "I didn't know you could." Writing, like any other form of creative expression, is an impulse that never stops nagging at you and therefore must be heeded. If Roth can turn that valve off, then good on him.)
* All of the above photographs are from the Flavorwire article.