“The most annoying thing to come of this past truly good year is the narrative that I “came out of no where,” that I was “an unknown writer” before WILD was published. Actually, I came out of a literary community of readers and writers who knew me quite well. Before WILD, I’d published a novel as well as many essays that were read by a national audience. I bristle at this narrative not so much on my own behalf, but rather on behalf of the many writers I love, admire, respect and read. There is a strong and vibrant literary culture that exists and thrives in this nation and it does not exist in a place called nowhere, whether you know about it or not. It’s the place where the writers work.”
I’ve been struggling for awhile now to write an essay about what I found so disheartening at times about New York literary culture. It produces and promotes innovative, stunning, ground-breaking writing, but it is not the only literary culture, nor one of two (MFA or NYC) as this n+1 piece would have it, and American literature is so much richer and more dynamic for that. Thanks to Cheryl Strayed for this small bit of myth-busting.