A prestigious literary magazine has released its once-a-decade list of top young writers, and five of the twenty inclusions are Jewish.
The British journal Granta released its Best of Young British Novelists, and among the choices were Adam Foulds, Naomi Alderman, Benjamin Markovits, Ned Beauman and Adam Thirlwell.
Foulds, the son of New Essex Masorti rabbi Michael Foulds, told the Jewish Chronicle he was inspired by the work of Jewish American novelists such as Saul Bellow and Philip Roth. “There is now a very rich tradition to draw on of fiction by diaspora Jewish writers — literature of a high standard that comes out of their experience or the experience of their grandparents’ generation.”
Several of the Jewish novelists have drawn on Judaism for inspiration. For example, Alderman has written a novel, “Disobedience,” which is an exploration of sexuality in the north-west London Orthodox community.
Thirlwell is the only repeat from the last list.
Now 34 and working on his third full-length novel, Thirwell expressed delight to have made a second appearance. “In retrospect it feels like a huge relief — not being on it would have looked like I’d declined.”
“It’s a great thing,” added Thirlwell, who also cites Roth and Bellow as his literary heroes. “It gave me confidence in my career, and confidence to do more crazy things with writing. And in a practical way, getting attention to books is difficult.”