One of the National Book Award's "5 Under 35" Honorees -- the annual accounting of the next great writers who will wow us all -- is Shani Boianjiu, a 2011 Harvard grad (as in, the 2011 we are now in) whose debut novel won't be out for your judgment until 2013. 2013?!
I get that they're looking for the next big thing, but what sense does it make to choose an author whose book no one has had the chance to read without deep connections? (To be fair, the New Yorker did the same thing to Tea Obreht with its 20 Under 40 list last year. I found that book worthy of praise, but still wished I could have read it in context.)This is nothing against Boianjiu, who I will be keeping an eye out for in future because of this great honor.
Maybe this is the equivalent of the hipster's "Oh, it's an obscure band, you probably never heard of it."
Of the other nominees, Danielle Evans is the only one I have heard of, Mary Beth Keane was nominated by the author I most like of the nominating committee (Julia Glass), Melinda Moustakis has the funniest book title (BEAR DOWN, BEAR NORTH: ALASKA STORIES) and John Corey Whaley wins Most Looks Like Guys I Went To High School With. So we've all got superlatives now!
21 minutes ago