Adam Johnson, author of the Pulitzer Prize–winning The Orphan Master’s Son, works with group of high school students out of 826 San Francisco to select the year’s best new fiction, nonfiction, poetry, comics, and category-defying gems aimed at readers 15 and up.
For the past year, a group of high school students met at a publishing house in San Francisco every Monday night to read literary magazines, chapbooks, graphic novels, and countless articles. This committee was assisted by a group of students that met in the basement of a robot shop in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Together, and under the guidance of guest editor Adam Johnson, these high schoolers selected the contents of The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2015. The writing in this book is very essential, if not required, like visiting the Louvre if you’re in Paris. In any case, nothing in this book takes place in Paris, as far as we can recall, but it does feature an elephant hunt, the fall of a reality-TV star, a walk through Ethiopia, and much more of what Johnson calls “the most important examinations in life.”
The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2015 includes
LESLEY NNEKA ARIMAH, DANIEL ALARCÓN, BOX BROWN, REBECCA CURTIS, VICTOR LODATO, CLAUDIA RANKINE, PAUL SALOPEK, PAUL TOUGH, WELLS TOWER
Adam Johnson, guest editor, teaches creative writing at Stanford University. He is the author of Fortune Smiles, Emporium, Parasites Likes Us, and The Orphan Master’s Son, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction. He has received a Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. His work has appeared in Esquire, Harper’s Magazine, Playboy, GQ, the Paris Review, Granta, Tin House, the New York Times, and The Best American Short Stories.
“[T]his eclectic collection soars more often than it sags…the stories that truly stick are those that are slightly unnerving and offbeat, of which there are many.”
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