Is there a Brooklyn style of writing? There certainly are Brooklyn writers, God help us, in every converted loft and coffee shop from Williamsburg to Sheepshead Bay. But, as the novelist and Fort Greene resident Colson Whitehead once asked, “Is there some sort of borough-specific inspiration feeding the work of this fresh crop of writers?”
Whitehead had his tongue in his cheek. All that Brooklyn really boasts, he argued, is cheap rent and easy access to Manhattan: “You’d have to be a bit dense to confuse a geographic and economic accident with an aesthetic movement.” Yet the question persists by virtue of sheer confounding ubiquity. Virtually every nascent literary journal and small press is based in Brooklyn; bucking all national trends, bookstores sprout there with astonishing fecundity; find a pretty, young face on a dust jacket and 9 out of 10 times the writer lives somewhere in biking distance from Prospect Park (rumor has it that old and unattractive authors also make Brooklyn their home, but I can’t confirm this).
About the Author
Sam Sacks writes the weekly fiction chronicle for the Wall Street Journal.