Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Brooklyn Literary 100

The New York Sun recently published a list (and map) detailing the Brooklyn Literary 100. In addition to the places, many of which I’m familiar with — Fort Greene Park, Prospect Park, Ozzie’s, the Brooklyn Lyceum, Community Bookstore, Heights Books, and the Brooklyn Book Fest — there were lists of prominent writers and editors, broken down by neighborhood. As silly as it is, and Colson Whitehead pointed out just how silly, to attribute special literary qualities to the borough of Brooklyn or any of its neighborhoods, I was surprised to see that Park Slope didn’t dominate as thoroughly as I expected. It has 19 names, including Paul Auster and Jonathan Safran Foer, but so does Fort Greene, which has Amitav Ghosh, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Colson Whitehead himself. (Though didn’t I read somewhere that he had moved to somewhere like Cobble Hill or Carroll Gardens?) If you throw in my own neighborhood, Clinton Hill, which many consider an extension of Fort Greene, you get 9 more names, including James Surowiecki of The New Yorker. Prospect Heights, just down the street, has 12 names, including heavy hitters like Rick Moody, Philip Gourevitch, and George Packer.

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