Also Rans #1: The Literary Brat Pack

MOST CHARISMATIC AMERICAN WRITERS–

part of–

THE ALL-TIME AMERICAN WRITERS TOURNAMENT

johnSimonePhotography_jayMcInery_tamaJanowitz_bretEastonEllis_img(Photo: John Simone.)

Call them What Might’ve Beens. In the 1980’s a trio of literary stars, the creation of Paris Review icon George Plimpton and other New Yorkers, seemed ready to conquer the literary landscape and become larger-than-life cultural celebrities. Each had written a Big Hit book.

Jay McInerney had Bright Lights, Big City.

Tama Janowitz, Slaves of New York.

Bret Easton Ellis made a splash with Less Than Zero.

Yet their follow-ups were tepid at best. Opportunity passed. Their stars faded. They’re still out there, writing and publishing books. Ellis for one struggles mightily to regain attention, but the spotlight has moved on.

NEXT: Most Charismatic Writer #12.
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Star Power

ALL-TIME AMERICAN WRITERS TOURNAMENT

Misty-Copelandunder armor

(Ad photo of Misty Copeland for Under Armor.)
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Should writers just write?

Should ballet dancers just dance?

Ballet has been most popular– and most relevant– when it had stars to put out front. Most famously, the star pairing of Margot Fonteyn and Rudolf Nureyev in the 1960’s.

Today ballet has Misty Copeland, prima ballerina at New York City’s American Ballet Theatre. Walk into any Macy’s store and you encounter a large poster of Misty Copeland. She appears in TV commercial after TV commercial, on the cover of magazine after magazine. Feature articles everywhere.

The result? Ballet matters. Little girls grow up dreaming of being the next Misty Copeland. Dance schools are filled– a flow of new talent streaming into the art.

Think about it: The marginal art of ballet(!) has developed a more prominent personality, a more important cultural phenomenon, than the entirety of literature with all its schools, publishing companies and publicity departments. This is failure, people. Across-the-board failure.

American literature once had stars. Our goal as a literary project is to find or create new ones. Specifically, the Great American Writer.

This tournament is our way of resetting the standards and examining the nature of literary star power.