by Steve Yarbrough
Every writer gets asked who his or her favorite contemporary writers are, and I always note that the day isn't long enough for me to give a full answer. But here's a start.
I love the stories of the great Irish writer William Trevor, as well as those of the Canadian, Alice Munro. Another Canadian writer of short fiction I admire is Alastair MacLeod. Also, James Salter, a fine novelist, is a magnificent short story writer as well. Both Richard Yates and Andre Dubus were really important to me, and I'm a long-time fan of Bay Area writer Gina Berriault, whose work Andre turned me on to.
I think Edward P. Jones is about the best thing going in contemporary American fiction. Larry McMurtry was really important to me when I began writing--The Last Picture Show is the book that made me want to be a writer. I admire Milan Kundera, J. M. Coetzee, and of course Cormac McCarthy. Among younger fiction writers, I'm especially fond of Jennifer Haigh and my two younger colleagues here in Fresno, David Anthony Durham and Alex Espinoza.
I read a lot of nonfiction. My favorites there include my colleague Steven Church (The Guinness Book of Me), Rick Bragg, Adam Gopnik, and the great Joan Didion.
Those are my answers as of September 6 at 10:30 AM.