By EW Staff
June 29, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT


AGE 37 WHY HIM? The Brooklyn-bred writer and F.O.D.E. (friend of Dave Eggers) finally got his mainstream due with his fifth novel, Motherless Brooklyn, a dazzling and hilarious mystery featuring a gumshoe with Tourette’s syndrome (think Raymond Chandler by way of Quentin Tarantino). Fans include Edward Norton, who bought the rights with an eye toward playing twitchy hero Lionel Essrog. INFLUENCES ”I’ll give you some iconic last names: Dylan, Hitchcock, Kafka. And I should add something irreverent and deflating, too, right? Lessee…Joy of Cooking.” WORST ADVICE ”Write what you know. I’ve generally had to write in order to know anything worth knowing.” BEST ADVICE ”Work every day.” HIS FATHER WANTED HIM TO BE… ”A painter, like him.” CAREER HE MOST ADMIRES ”Philip Roth’s. He’s writing his best books so late in his career.” WHERE THIS BROOKLYN POSTER BOY ACTUALLY LIVES (MOSTLY) ”I’m married to a Canadian. I keep my apartment in Brooklyn, but I spend more time [in Toronto].” NEXT His novella This Shape We’re In came out in February; he describes his next novel, half-done, as ”big, sprawling, omnivorous.”

IT DISCOVERY Amy Fusselman

AGE 35 WHY HER? Her debut, The Pharmacist’s Mate, won a contest sponsored by hip lit rag McSweeney’s, which subsequently published it as an 86-page book. Weaving together tales of her attempts to get pregnant with entries from her recently deceased father’s journal, Fusselman delivers a memoir both endearingly eccentric and enduringly innovative. CAREER HIGH ”Being on tour for this book — though I couldn’t have made it less convenient for myself [she’s pregnant, after trying for two years with husband, Frank, and she’s keeping a tour diary for]. But the people I’ve met make it worth it.” CAREER LOW ”I wrote want ads for temp agencies. I could never come up with headlines, so I got canned.” INFLUENCES ”I get jazzed by architects and designers who experiment with form — like Italian designer Ettore Sottsass, who’s a great writer, too.” BEST ADVICE ”My dad used to say, ‘Don’t tinker with your maker.’ It’s such an old-man thing to say. He said it after I dyed my hair blond.” NEXT For her sophomore effort, ”I’m thinking elves.”

IT EDITOR Gerald Howard

AGE 50 WHY HIM? He discovered David Foster Wallace. Brought Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting to America. Convinced colleagues to publish Chuck Palahniuk’s Fight Club and last month’s Choke. He reissued Richard Farina, edits Gore Vidal, and had to reschedule this interview to lunch with Don DeLillo. Don’t be fooled by the tweed: This cat, currently curled up in a Doubleday Broadway office, is cool. BOOK THAT CHANGED HIS LIFE ”I read Catch-22 when I was 13. It made me a weirdo in high school, but it helped in my adult life.” ON THE DEATH OF EDITING ”A bald untruth. I know many editors who care about their books as deeply as you can, who work like dogs to get them into the best shape possible.” HERO Cork Smith, Howard’s coworker at Viking Press. ”He was Thomas Pynchon’s editor…and I was a card-carrying member of the Pynchon underground.” SECRET EGO TRIP ”I like to still in print. I don’t generally have best-sellers, but they stick around.” NEXT Q: The Autobiography of Quincy Jones, whose subject nicknamed the editor Bix (as in trumpeter Beiderbecke). ”A nickname from Quincy Jones, that trumps everything.”