Last week, Granta revealed their once-in-a-decade list of the 20 best young British novelists, an honor that more often than not is a harbinger of success (see Martin Amis, Salman Rushdie, Kazuo Ishiguro, Julian Barnes). Curious as to the reading lists of these future international literary stars, I reached out to ask them to tell us about their favorite writers—and though not all of them stuck to the letter of our "young and British" stipulations, they all recommended amazing authors worth adding to your to-read pile. Check out the favorite writers of 2013′s Best Young British Novelists below.
"I recently finished Looking For Transwonderland by Noo Saro-Wiwa and have not been able to stop talking about it. It is a travel book but so full of stories, and so funny that I kept snorting as I read it on the bus. Her personal history frames her travels around Nigeria and gives her observations a fresh, mordacious quality. It feels as though she is wrestling with her subject; meaningfully, violently and with a deep-down love."
"I'm a big fan of (and very envious of) Anna Richards, whose debut novel Little Gods was published in the UK in 2009 and stunned and beguiled me with the tragicomic tale of an English giantess who becomes an American second world war bride."
"Simultaneously tough and lyrical in his prose, Peter Hobbs seems able to inhabit any (fictional) skin with total conviction—from a Methodist lay preacher in 19th century Cornwall in The Short Day Dying, to the zoologists, Florida divorcées and Pythagorus himself in the short story collection I Could Ride All Day in My Cool Blue Train, to the Pathans of Northern Pakistan in In the Orchard, the Swallows."
"Peter Hobbs. Because he writes with such a combination of intensity and subtlety, because each sentence has its balance, because he finds the song in the quiet. His short stories are a particular wonder, each one a fully-formed world, a place both strange and familiar."
"It's true that in terms of birthdays she's not the absolute youngest of writers but a writer's real youth is in their language, which means that the British poet Alice Oswald is one of the very youngest around. In other words, she's one of the most original. Her recent book, Memorial, is a cut-up, haunting refraction from The Iliad, an experiment in atmosphere—but the book of hers I love the most is Dart: a winding, intricate poem about the River Dart, that's the closest a book has ever got to being pure audio."
"My pick for Best Young British Novelist is Tash Aw, author of The Harmony Silk Factory, Map of the Invisible World, and, most recently, Five-Star Billionaire. Aw turned 40 last year, or I'm sure he would have been on the Granta list. He writes epic, yet intimate narratives about families and relationships in the wake of great social and historical change. His latest book, about Malaysian immigrants in Shanghai, is a powerful meditation on exile, ambition, and the power and pathos of being far from home."