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NMSU writer makes The New Yorker's top 20 list

Antonya Nelson, an associate professor of creative writing at New Mexico State University, has been named one of the 20 best young fiction writers in America by The New Yorker magazine.

Nelson's story "Party of One," an excerpt from her forthcoming novel, "Living to Tell," appears in The New Yorker issue dated June 21 and 28. The issue includes work by each of the 20 authors.

Nelson's published fiction includes three story collections and two novels, "Talking in Bed" and "Nobody's Girl." "Living to Tell" is due out in June 2000. She has had three other stories published in The New Yorker.

The magazine's top 20 list also includes Sherman Alexie, Donald Antrim, Ethan Canin, Michael Chabon, Edwidge Danticat, Junot Diaz, Tony Earley, Nathan Englander, Jeffrey Eugenides, Jonathan Franzen, Allegra Goodman, A.M. Homes, Matthew Klam, Jhumpa Lahiri, Chang-rae Lee, Rick Moody, George Saunders, William T. Vollman and David Foster Wallace.

Early this year, Nelson said, The New Yorker announced its plans for a top 20 list when it sent out a call to agents and publishers for fiction by writers under 40 years of age.

This month Nelson was flown to San Francisco for a photo shoot and to New York for a party and reading by actors of the selected stories. Before the magazine brought the group together, Nelson said she knew most of the writers by their work and some personally. The 20 represent a wide range of narrative styles, she said. "I was impressed by the different approaches in terms of style."

In an introduction to the 20 pieces, The New Yorker's fiction editor Bill Buford wrote, "What is the future of American fiction? We can't know. But the Polaroid of this generation, snapped as the century turns, offers a satisfying picture of a highly accomplished group of writers robustly taking on the stories of their Americanness."