The Great American Novelist

July 25, 2012 | 4

The Guardian‘s Books Blog is hosting a tournament to determine “The Great American Novelist,” and the list of the final 32 seeded contenders, as voted by the site’s readers, is enough to raise some eyebrows—not as much for who did make the cut as for who didn’t. Guardian readers, haven’t you heard of Richard Yates?

works on special projects for The Millions. He lives in Baltimore and he frequents dive bars. His interests can be followed on his Tumblr, Nick Recommends and Twitter, @nemoran3.


  1. Just to be clear – the 32 shortlisted authors were chosen by the guy running the “tournament”. Readers are supposed to vote on the match-ups he has created. There was a discussion about who should be in the 32 but he made the final call.

    Yes, the omission of Yates strikes me as egregious as well, but then the whole idea is pretty silly. Writer matchups (see also: Tournament of Books) are even more ridiculous then prize shortlists.

  2. Mailer (and Capote) were excluded on the basis that their non-fiction is inadmissable. Hence neither has the tournament creator’s required “4 strong novels” to compete thru all the proposed rounds.

    I did say already that it’s a ridiculous exercise….

    Fitzgerald is there, but he’s not a “seed” for some reason.

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