The New Yorker’s 20 Under 40

The New Yorker’s Summer Fiction issue was released Monday, featuring this year’s 20 Under 40–“twenty young writers who capture the inventiveness and the vitality of contemporary American fiction.” This year’s honorees are:

  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche
  • Chris Adrian
  • Daniel Alarcon
  • David Bezmozgis
  • Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum
  • Joshua Ferris
  • Jonathan Safran Foer
  • Nell Freudenberger
  • Rivka Galchen
  • Nicole Krauss
  • Yiyun Li
  • Dinaw Mengestu
  • Philipp Meyer
  • C.E. Morgan
  • Tea Obreht
  • ZZ Packer
  • Karen Russell
  • Salvatore Scibona
  • Gary Shteyngart
  • Wells Tower

One member of the coveted list, Chris Adrian, is gay, and though his books are not generally gay-themed, a gay doctor (whose name is an anagram of Adrian’s) does appear in all of his books. In addition to writing, Adrian is an MD himself and has also studied at Harvard Divinity School.

Other writers on the list have also touched on LGBT themes in their work. In Sarah Shun-Lien Bynum’s The Ms. Hempel Chronicles, the protagonist, a middle-school English teacher, speculates that one her female students “will be gay when she grows up.” Yiyun Li’s “Son” from A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and the title story in Gold Boy, Emerald Green both deal with homosexuality in the context of mother-son relationships. In the title story of ZZ Packer’s Drinking Coffee, a lonely student at Yale is forced to confront the possibility that she is a lesbian.

Read the Q. & A. with Chris Adrian here and look for his story for the 20 Under 40 series in a future issue this summer.