Oh, The Favorites You’ll Give: Literary Twitter’s Best Tweets

Last year, we took a look at the affinity for Twitter in certain quarters of the literary world. A handful of well-known authors have acquired big followings on the platform, a result not just of their name recognition but of their mastery of the tweet, as well. Readers now also turn to twitter for book news and comment from a number of sources who are active on Twitter. Our previous piece looked at the very first tweets of these now-popular practitioners. Nearly all were halting “Hello World” efforts, and none seemed likely to win over those unconverted to the various (and admittedly sometimes maddening) wonders of Twitter.

So, to present literary Twitter in its best possible light, we are returning again to those most widely followed on literary Twitter, but this time, looking at which Tweets got the most favorites, we are highlighting each literary Twitterer’s best tweet. Here you’ll find much wry humor, gossip, lots of politics, Margaret Atwood flirting with a Twitter-famous comedian, and even a surprising amount of insight crammed into 140 characters. They may be enough to win over some fresh converts.

(For the Twitter regulars out there, we found that tweets with more RTs tended to be more about disseminating news to fans, while tweets with more favs captured some essence of the Twitterer, so we went with the latter when compiling this list. Also, if you find tweets by these folks with more favorites than the ones we’ve listed, let us know and we’ll swap them in.)

created The Millions and is its publisher. He and his family live in New Jersey.


  1. Despite the impressive credentials of the selected individuals, Twitter is still a cesspool of callow and vainglorious thought.

  2. One’s personal politics aside, what does it mean that every politically themed tweet is decidedly to the left? Is the mainstream literary world that homogenous in its politics? Or do more conservative writers just not use twitter? Or are conservative writers who use twitter less likely to broadcast their views? Or what?

    Finally, am I alone in thinking this kind of broad consensus is odd, and maybe even toxic to literature as a whole?

  3. Thinking Out Loud, you are so right. No pun intended there, but seriously: the literary world is so homogenous and the politics is a huge part of it. That’s why today’s literature is toxic and troubled. It’s all the same. It’s not that ‘conservative’ (or more accurately ‘non-partyl-line-left’) writers don’t use twitter; they don’t exist, not on the Internet, not in the journals, not at all. And all that party-line politics is tiresome. And if this is the best of ‘literary’ twitter, then can we please move past twitter?

  4. The last thing I need in my Twitter feed is more political screeds. I unfollow anyone who gets political on Twitter – right or left.

  5. It’s not just twitter. It’s the whole literary world that has this problem ThinkingOutLoud mentions above. It’s a huge elephant that nobody is talking about because the only people who would say anything aren’t allowed into the room. This affects publishing, books and magazines, the “literary” web, academia and all English departments. It’s a big circle eating itself, completely homogenous … and intolerant of any diverging views. Read the editor’s comments in the latest issue of “diode” poetry journal where the editor comes out and says it: http://www.diodepoetry.com/v6n1/content/preface.html

    I do think it’s more than just odd, it’s dangerous, and I would welcome some serious investigation into the how and why of it. I believe it is lethal to the progress of literature.

Add Your Comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.