Ranking Writers' Level of Greatness

Tao Lin of Seattle’s The Stranger describes the levels of greatness a writer can achieve in America. Hmm, we’d have fun writing one for New York writers…

USED HONDA CIVIC IN "GREAT" CONDITION: Jonathan Franzen/ Rick Moody/David Foster Wallace

Frequently cited in comments sections of blogs with 2,000–4,000 unique visitors a day as "Great American Novelists," or sometimes "the greatest writer ever that is still alive and American." Published novels at first, then got distracted and published nonfiction books, story collections, essay collections, and other things that made them less powerful. Also held back by their inability to write about the Holocaust, genocide in Africa, racism, or the immigrant experience; that they sometimes publish in places that are not the New Yorker; and that photos of them exist where their faces do not convey "I am very smart and this is my serious literature."

Ranking Writers' Level of Greatness