Keith Gessen is editor-in-chief of n+1, a twice-yearly magazine of literature, politics, and culture based in New York City.
Gessen graduated from Harvard College and earned his MFA in Creative Writing from Syracuse University in 2004. Gessen, who was born in Russia, has written about Russia for The Atlantic and the New York Review of Books. Gessen has also written about books for magazines including Dissent, Slate, and New York, where he was the regular book critic.
His first novel, All the Sad Young Literary Men, was published in April 2008.
Question: Which writers inform your work?
Keith Gessen: I’ve mentioned Bellow, Roth- DeLillo is somebody whose confrontation with popular culture, I think, has been very important. Houellebecq- Michel Houellebecq, the French writer, is someone who has taken the world that was created by the ‘60s, the world of sexual liberation, of multiple sexual partners, of free sexual competition, and read this as a historical phenomenon, has treated this as something that is new and that is important, and that needs to be theorized and historicized, which is not something that we typically do in American literature, but we ought to be doing. And my book is not Houellebecqian, but it tries to do some of this. It tries to take dating seriously, as a historical phenomenon, which I think it is.