‘American Idol’ Gets Literary

Joshua Williams, one of our Literary Idol contestants.Photo: Stuart O'Sullivan

Now that American Idol has officially jumped the shark, doesn't America need a real, thoughtful, talent-based contest to make catty comments about? Just in time for Blake withdrawal, this week's issue of New York brings you Literary Idol, where writing teachers single out the star novelists of tomorrow and you get to vote for the best ones online. Check out excerpts from their forthcoming works below; we promise they're 100 percent Bon Jovi–free.

Joshua Williams, The Window House
Maaza Mengiste, Untitled Novel
Mark Edmund Doten, Waziristan
Martin Hyatt, Grit, My Love
Elliott Holt, Evacuation Instructions
David Rogers, The Tie-Down