5 1/2 Writers Under 11

Seth Fried

Andrea Wexler (Age 0): Andrea Wexler may only be an infant, but the literary community is already abuzz with this wunderkind’s ability to place lettered blocks in her mouth with a dexterity that The New York Times has called, “breathtaking.” Conceived at Yaddo, Wexler was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship as an embryo and later went on to receive a MacArthur Fetus Grant. She is presently a lecturer in residence at Columbia University, where students and faculty are all anxiously awaiting her first word.

A rare, early photo of Andrea Wexler as a zygote

Keith Abernacky (Age 7): With his debut book, New Leavings, Keith Abernacky has written what critics have hailed as the first great potty-training novel of the 21st Century. Abernacky has also become somewhat of a controversial figure due to the book’s vivid depictions of what the American Association of School Librarians has termed “toilet situations.” Many fans were also disturbed by the author’s public remarks that his work should only be read in the bathroom. As a result, the book was banned from public schools and Walmart refused to carry the paperback edition once they learned that it would be laminated. However, Abernacky remains a proud proponent of what he refers to as the “Bathroom Movement.” He is still happily potty-trained and is currently at work on a novel-in-verse about the life and times of Alexander Cummings, inventor of the S-pipe.

Abigail Conklin (Age 10): Abigail Conklin first achieved national acclaim at the age of 8 when she translated The Great Gatsby into lolspeak under the title LOLGATZ. Fans, critics, and even several members of the Fitzgerald Estate quickly agreed that Conklin’s version was vastly superior to the original:


Conklin went on to complete a similar translation of Moby Dick under the title I CAN HAS A WHALE? and later had to be hospitalized when she attempted to rewrite Finnegan’s Wake as a single emoticon. She now teaches a course on Meme Literature at Brown University, where she is hard at work transcribing the novels of William Gaddis into leetspeak.

An image from Abigail Conklin's I CAN HAS A WHALE?

Christie Muffert (Age 10): Born and raised in Park Slope, Brooklyn, Muffert began attending creative writing workshops at the age of 6 in order to avoid volunteering at her parents’ food co-op. Since then, she has become one of the most widely celebrated young writers in the country. Famously reclusive, Muffert’s sole companion is her sister Dipsy, a dog that her parents have raised as a human child. Her breakout memoir, The Bums of Center Slope, deals with her parents’ former fennel addiction, which, coupled with the high costs of Dipsy’s Montessori tuition, often left the Mufferts penniless.

Cassandra Bartlett (Age 9): Arguably the youngest Romance novelist in history, Bartlett’s depictions of adult relationships betray an insight beyond her years. Critics have pointed out that Bartlett’s understanding of human anatomy and sexuality is somewhat crude. Also, the flow of her narratives tends to be interrupted by Bartlett’s own transcribed giggling. Nevertheless, her work enjoys a devoted readership among the legions of adolescent girls who are struggling to find titillation in the post boy-band era.

Ian Donnelly (Age 9): Tragically, Donnelly’s promising writing career was cut short when he was chopped in half for the purposes of this list. Fortunately, Little Brown, and Company’s special Posthumous Division is already in the process of converting Donnelly’s personal papers into a novel. Tentatively titled Ian’s Notebook KEEP OUT!!!!, critics are speculating that Donnelly’s first and last novel will be a frontrunner to be snubbed by next year’s Pulitzer Board.