Sunday, March 5, 2023

Locating the Big 7

Locating the Big 7

By Kenton Rambsy 

In the first chapter of my book, I discuss the Big 7, which I conceived of after performing a quantitative analysis of a dataset in order to identify the most frequently anthologized short story writers. Those 7 writers collectively wrote 75 of the 632 unique short stories published in 100 anthologies published between 1925 and 2017. These writers—the Big 7—are outliers for four main reasons: 

For one, their stories appear more frequently than 290 other short story writers whose works have been anthologized. 

Second, they are among a relatively small number of Black writers whose stories appear in different kinds of anthologies—general short story collections, comprehensive literature anthologies, and special topics collections. 

Third, each of the Big 7 has at least one signature story that has appeared in more than ten anthologies. 

Finally, since 1990, each of these writers has had their stories published in more than twenty-five anthologies. The only Black short story writers who meet those four criteria are Chesnutt, Hurston, Wright, Ellison, Baldwin, Bambara, and Walker.

This entry is part of a series--A Notebook on The Geographies of African American Short Stories.

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