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Who's Next?

This season's local fiction hopefuls range from a Nigerian-American prizewinner to an Entertainment Weekly TV critic to a navy publicist who published his own novel.

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Just since the turn of the new century Chicago's produced exciting work by writers as diverse as Aleksandar Hemon and Elizabeth Crane, Alex Shakar and Audrey Niffenegger. But what's on the horizon? In this issue we take a snapshot of the current literary landscape, homing in on eight local fiction writers: Bayo Ojikutu, Joe Meno, Patrick Somerville, Amy Guth, Joseph Suglia, Todd Dills, John Sheppard, and Gillian Flynn. Some of these names are surely familiar--and if others leave you scratching your head, that's the point. This crew runs the gamut: an indie icon, a rising star, a new kid, a TV critic, a comedian, and a do-it-yourselfer or three. All have new books and all share a common geography (well, except the one who just left town). And all of them have good stories to tell.

Also in this special issue: Susannah J. Felts examines the convoluted career of onetime Chicago debutante Alice Sheldon, who wrote genre-busting science fiction under the pseudonym James Tiptree Jr.; Stephen J. Lyons talks to Richard Powers about his new National Book Award-nominated novel, The Echo Maker; and our critics review 20 new books.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jim Newberry.

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