It wouldn’t be a true year-end without critical forecasts for the next one. Literature is a hard beast to predict though. We can guess what will sell well, but can we know what will actually turn out to be good? No, we cannot. And we know even less about what will happen online. This is the great virtue of literature on the internet. You never know what you’re going to get. It’s like a box of chocolates that way. Still, we can think about who is doing great work now, and look forward to their potential continuing to unfurl for our reading pleasure. To that end, here are twenty writers, bloggers, titles, and zines to watch out for in 2015.
We’re not sure exactly what Laren is planning for 2015, we just know we’re going to like it. His text is the best text around when it comes to text in comics and drawings, and we hope he never ever stops working. Let’s put Will Laren on the list every year. Long live Will Laren.
Marriage: it is pointless. For women, at least. Such has been the thrust of a series of excellent pieces by Kate Bolick, who has a book out on the subject in 2015. It is called Spinster, but just trust that it will be more invigorating that the title makes it sound.
Hooper’s fiction debut Etta and Otto and Russell and James is out in January. It is about an eighty-two year old woman who goes for a very long walk. Hooper has a musical project called ‘Waitress for the Bees’ and also a Finnish Cultural Knighthood. Just thought you should know.
The art world: does anybody understand it? If they do, we haven’t met them. It all seems to happen on Instagram these days, anyway. Kids! But Roger White’s new book The Contemporaries: Travels in the 21st-Century Art World aims to sketch the topography of this most opaque of markets, as it exists now.
In 2014, Ford’s Buzzfeeding and blogging reached pitches of excellence seldom found on the internet, crammed as it is with tinny voices screeching to be heard. It seems that she is working on a book. Whether or not it comes out in 2015, let’s just hope that she will continue to grace us with thoughtful, essayistic writing.
Beck’s book We Believe the Children, slated for 2015 release from Public Affairs, chronicles the public hysteria that gripped 1980s America as hundreds of people were investigated for child abuse crimes which were never committed. It looks to be rather a horrifying read, but a valuable one.
Christofi’s debut novel Glass is a strange tale about, well, glass. Its protagonist Günter is really into glass. He ends up cleaning windows on the Shard, among other adventures like falling in love with a psychic. This is a rare novel, headed up by a sweetly picaresque idiot but rollicking nonetheless.
CITY BY CITY, n+1
Brooklyn literary mag n+1 has a long list of excellent books under its belt, like 2013’s No Regrets and this year’s anthology Happiness. Next up, they are publishing a collection of essays exclusively about cities in the U.S. It promises to be a cabinet of microhistorical joys.
Poetry: too often it is bad. Let us be thankful, then, for Jayinee Basu, whose new collection Asuras is out 2015 from Civil Coping Mechanisms. Explore her work online in advance, but don’t miss this one.
OLIVE HIGGINS PROUTY
Ok, this name isn’t new – at all. But Prouty’s 1922 novel Stella Dallas is an absolute cracker. You may have heard of the amazing 1937 movie version, starring Barbara Stanwyck. Neither the book nor the movie are easy to get hold of today. Thankfully, The Feminist Press is republishing it this year! Don’t miss your chance to get your hands on this insanely excellent exploration of the meaning of motherhood.
Will Jon Ronson ever stop being good? It is getting tiring. He has had a really ace few years, amply demonstrating his range with 2011’s The Psychopath Test and his 2014 movie Frank. But 2015’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed looks to be his best yet. 2014 was the year of internet outrage, but perhaps next year will mark a turning point in our understanding of the court of popular opinion.
Carola Dibbell’s 2015 novel The Only Ones looks utterly thrilling – another ace title from Two Dollar Radio. Inez, the protagonist, is immune to disease in a world ravaged by illness. Her reproductive abilities are harnessed for commercial purposes, but things, inevitably, go weird and wrong.
$PREAD, EDITED BY AUDACIA RAY, ELIYANNA KAISER & RACHEL AIMEE
The second title from The Feminist Press on this list, $pread collects the best writing from the magazine of the same name, which ran between 2005 and 2011. Written by, for, and about sex workers, the magazine hosted some writing of deep seriousness and some that just represented sheer gestural solidarity—all of it is valuable.
We just named Zink’s novel The Wallcreeper the best book of 2014, but her 2015 novel Mislaid is set to be even bigger news. Another tale of bad marriage, Mislaid takes its characters into stranger political territory.
The campaign for more diversity in literature, a ‘grassroots organization created to address the lack of diverse, non-majority narratives in children’s literature’ really took off in 2014. We can only hope that its vision trickles into reality in 2015. As Ashley Ford’s beautiful essay on Jacqueline Woodson made so clear, a kid just needs to see themselves in a book sometimes.
Brooklyn zine The Tenth made quite a splash this year with its work documenting ‘the history, culture, ideas and aesthetics of the black, gay community’ (check out Dazed’s coverage). I’d be deeply surprised to see the collective behind the publication, Pink Rooster Studio, do anything but flourish in 2015.
I didn’t feel like narrowing down 2015’s offerings from Lazy Fascist over the coming year, so just keep an eye on the whole imprint (part of Eraserhead Press). They boast Sam Pink, Scott McClanahan, Molly Tanzer—Lazy Fascist is obviously very well-helmed and worth monitoring closely.
Thomas Pierce is great, so I am very glad that his debut collection of short stories House of Small Mammals is coming out next year. You might have seen some of the work in the New Yorker, but most of it is new. Dead possums, woolly mammoths—all good stuff.
QUEEN MOBS TEAHOUSE
There are new literary mags/sites all the time. It’s hard to know whether to bother caring about them. But there’s something about the new lit mag Queen Mobs Teahouse (spawned from Berfrois) that I like. Alison Grimaldi-Donohue’s story about a cat’s tail getting chopped off was great, for example. Watch this one.
This is a totally groundless prediction, based entirely on a feeling I just had. But there should be a big literary-Instagram movement. I don’t mean pictures of yourself holding colourful paperbacks—I mean stories, poems, serialised novels. IG video would be great for poetry! Basically I feel that Snapchat is too big among the trendy types and Instagram, because it is so mainstream and unshareable, would be the perfect platform for some new, fragmented, not-very-friendly literary scene. I predicted it first. Happy new year.
Follow Josephine Livingstone on Twitter here @jo_livingstone