Granta unveils list of top young writers

Accolade has record of identifying emerging talent

Women outnumber men for the first time in an influential list of the best young British novelists compiled by Granta, the literary quarterly.

The accolade, conferred once each decade on 20 writers under 40, has gained a reputation as a leading indicator of emerging talent since it was conceived 30 years ago. The first line-up in 1983 hailed Martin Amis, Pat Barker, Ian McEwan and Salman Rushdie; those celebrated since have included Alan Hollinghurst, Will Self, Jeanette Winterson, Zadie Smith and David Mitchell.

Ms Smith is one of two writers from 2003 who also make an appearance this time; the other is Adam Thirlwell.

John Freeman, Granta editor, said that the judges had been surprised by the international flavour of the selection that emerged, which includes six writers born overseas: Kamila Shamsie (Pakistan), Tahmima Anam (Bangladesh), Nadifa Mohamed (Somalia), David Szalay (Canada), Benjamin Markovits (the US) and Xiaolu Guo (China).

The youngest choices this year are Ned Beauman and Helen Oyeyemi, born in 1985 and 1984 respectively. Completing the list are Naomi Alderman, Jenni Fagan, Adam Foulds, Sarah Hall, Steven Hall, Joanna Kavenna, Ross Raisin, Sunjeev Sahota, Taiye Selasi and Evie Wyld.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.

More on this topic

Suggestions below based on Granta Publications

The Possessed

Elif Batuman obsessively retraces the steps of some of her favourite Russian writers

Small Talk: Rachel Cusk

Hounded by critics for A Life’s Work (2001), her frank portrait of motherhood, Rachel Cusk has also explored the trials of family life in her fiction. In the Fold (2005) is a tale of mismatched couples and problem children; in Arlington Park, shortlisted for the 2006 Orange Prize, five mothers struggle for stability in suburbia. Cusk, 42, was born in Canada and spent much of her childhood in Los Angeles before going to boarding school in the UK. She studied English at Oxford University. She is married with two daughters and one step-daughter and lives on the south-east coast of England.

The flying squad

The Wisdom of Birds: An Illustrated History of OrnithologyBy Tim BirkheadBloomsbury £25, 448 pagesFT Bookshop price: £20How to Be a Bad Birdwatcher: To the Greater Glory of LifeBy Simon BarnesShort Books £9.99, 208 pagesFT Bookshop price: £7.99Corvus: A Life With BirdsBy Esther WoolfsonGranta £16.99, 288 pagesFT Bookshop price: £13.59