This Year’s Lit 50

June 10, 2010

posted by Caroline Picard

This was published in Newcity’s weekly magazine. Happy to see one Zach Dodson in there and, of course, Jesse Ball. You can read the entire list and blurbs by going here.

Lit 50: Who really books in Chicago 2010

Illustration: Pamela Wishbow

A strange and unpleasant wind blows through the literary land. Our obsession with technocultural toys, whether iPhones, iPads or Kindles, makes the foundation of thought almost since thought was recorded, that is ink on paper, seem increasingly destined to be twittered into obsolescence. And it’s not just mere media frenzy, either. Massive upheaval among major publishers these last few years has left some of Chicago’s finest writers stranded in a strange land: that is, the work is finished, but no one is around to put it out. Who knows, maybe in two years when this version of Lit 50 returns, some, if not all, of our authors will be publishing mostly, if not entirely, in the digital realm. If that’s the case, let’s enjoy an old-fashioned book or two while we can.

As noted, this year’s list is limited to authors, poets, book designers and so on, with next year bringing back the behind-the-scenesters. As it was, this year’s project was daunting, with 126 viable names in consideration for fifty slots. The loss of our last #1 is most noteworthy, with the passing of Studs Terkel, but the list is populated by nineteen new faces, who either return to the list after an absence or show up for the first time. To make way for new names, some stalwarts had to be set aside; in many cases, this was due to their status as still between projects since our last go-round. We tried to limit ourselves in most cases to those with new work published between 2008 and 2010.

Lit 50 was written by Brian Hieggelke, Naomi Huffman, Tom Lynch, Andrew Rhoades and Rachel Sugar

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