As requested by @zoe
  1. Catherine Lacey. Biased: friend. That said, I don't know anyone else doing a better job in fiction of taking out the useless words and writing sentences that never land in the expected way. Best young fiction writer. *gavel*
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  2. Wells Tower. I prefer his non-fiction to his fiction, but only slightly. His GQ piece on Amsterdam hash bars still scrolls in my head. He manages to do the "hapless newcomer" routine without making it narcissistic slapstick. And while he's making the funny sentences, he manages to report like hell.
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  3. Frank O'Hara. The poet who sounds like New York and the 20th century and, even now, the voices all around us.
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  4. Maggie Nelson. Probably my favorite living writer. If anyone is clinging to reasons for fiction, memoir, theory and criticism to be considered as essentially different, Nelson's work invalidates those reasons. Nobody packs more ideas into a smaller space.
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  5. Larissa Macfarquhar. The profile is a form that has been almost destroyed by the puppeteering of PR flacks who control access to actors, tech workers and minor farming innovators. Macfarquhar still goes in, and renders people from multiple angles, promo be damned.
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