Behind the Books - How The Atlantic made its list of the Great American Novels - at the Wharf

Upcoming Event
Monday, May 20, 2024 - 7:00pm

Join Atlantic editors Adrienne LaFrance, Emma Sarappo, Lenika Cruz, and staff writer Ross Andersen for a discussion of "The Great American Novels," an ambitious new editorial project from The Atlantic that brings together the most consequential novels of the past 100 years. Focusing on 1924 to 2023, the 136 novels on the list include 45 debut novels, nine winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, and three children’s books. Twelve were published before the introduction of the mass-market paperback to America, and 24 after the release of the Kindle. At least 60 have been banned by schools or libraries.

In an introduction to the list, The Atlantic’s editors write that, together, the books selected represent the best of what novels can do: “challenge us, delight us, pull us in and then release us, a little smarter and a little more alive than we were before. You have to read them."

Adrienne LaFrance is the executive editor of The Atlantic. Previously she was a staff writer for the magazine. Before joining The Atlantic in 2014, LaFrance was an investigative reporter for several local and national news organizations, covering politics, technology, and media.

Lenika Cruz is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she has covered culture since 2014. She is the author of the Atlantic Editions book, On BTS: Pop Music, Fandom, Sincerity, and of a forthcoming memoir from Atria Books publishing in 2026.

Emma Sarappo is an associate editor at The Atlantic, where she covers books. Previously, she was the arts editor at Washington City Paper.

Ross Andersen is a staff writer at The Atlantic, where he covers science, technology, and culture. He is also at work on a book on the search for intelligent life elsewhere in the universe for Random House.

This event is free with first come, first serve seating.

610 Waters St SW
Washington, DC 20024
The Wharf