The inconstancy of youth (or, what’s in a “best young British novelist”?)

In an interview with 3AM’s Buzzwords, Andrew Crumey (author of Mobius Dick and literary editor of the Scotsman’s robust Scotland on Sunday) explains how he came to be one of the “best young British novelists” for about an hour.

[Granta] phoned me up and said congratulations, you’re one of Britain’s best young novelists. I said that’s very nice, but surely I’m too old…. There was an embarrassed pause, they asked how old I was, and then another embarrassed pause. I was at work at the time, and just about to leave. When I got home they phoned again and said I was out. Well, for five minutes or so I was pretty gutted, as you would be. Then I reminded myself that I should never have been entered for it by my publisher in the first place (they’d forgotten to check my age), so it was really a stroke of luck. It was nice to know that a bunch of people I’d never met had rated Mr Mee as one of the best books written in Britain by someone under 40 (and I really was under 40 when it came out — but that was three years before Granta did their thing).


You might want to subscribe to my free Substack newsletter, Ancestor Trouble, if the name makes intuitive sense to you.