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Read: Is Dave Eggers now the most influential man in literary circles?

Their master’s voice: the rise and rise of brand McSweeney’s by Stephen Amidon

What to read in 2008? Everybody’s looking for a trusted authority to help them decide, but advice can be self-serving and contradictory. For almost four decades, one tried-and-true method for choosing new writing has been to look to Granta magazine, an unrivalled bellwether for leading hungry readers to emerging authors. In 1996, for instance, it famously devoted an entire issue to naming the 20 best American novelists under 40. Although a few on the list have not exactly set the world alight, the magazine proved to be remarkably prophetic in shouting out authors who were to step to the fore-front of their generation: talents such as Jonathan Franzen, Lorrie Moore and Sherman Alexie.

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