America's Next Top Supernovel

Granta once again takes bets on the nation's young literary talent

"In my dreams, my birth mother is the queen of queens, and she has made a fabulous life for herself, as ruler of the world, except for one missing link—me," writes novelist A.M. Homes in her memoir The Mistress's Daughter, the story of meeting her birth parents after 30 years. Homes's imagination is much kinder than reality. In truth, her birth mother got pregnant at 22 after an affair with a much older man; she never married or had another child. In her memoir, novelist Homes tries to rebuild the foundation of her identity after a harsh look at the misbegotten blueprints. April 11, Barnes and Noble, 675 Sixth Ave, 212-727-1227

PEN World Voices Festival

War, poverty, racism—this festival has it all. Writers from around the world will descend upon New York City to address issues affecting international authors today. Readings and panels have not yet been finalized but participants will include Salman Rushdie, Philip Gourevitch, Lawrence Weschler, Carolin Emcke, and Neil Gaiman. April 24-29, various venues around the city, pen.org/festival

John McPhee and Martha McPhee

It is a rare occasion when a father and daughter gather together to showcase their new novels. New Yorker favorite John will be reading from Uncommon Carriers, a book of observations about trucking that he made while tagging along in the passenger seats of 16-wheelers, while Martha debuts L'America, her new novel about transatlantic love. April 25, 192 Books, 192 Tenth Ave, 212-255-4022, call for reservations

Michael Chabon

What if the homeland created for the Jews after World War II had been located in Alaska instead of Israel, as Franklin Roosevelt once proposed? The streets of Sitka might have turned into the gritty, urban menace envisioned by Michael Chabon in The Yiddish Policemen's Union. After Detective Meyer Landsman discovers the corpse of a strung-out chess prodigy in a flophouse, he delves into the seedy underbelly of "Alyeska" to solve this noir mystery with shtetl flair. Chabon also will be reading on May 2 at Barnes and Noble, 33 East 17 th Street, 212-253-0810. May 1, 92 super nd Street Y, 1395 Lexington Ave, 212-415-5500

Miranda July

She's a performance artist, musician, actress, screenwriter, and director; she even won the Camera d'Or at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival for Me and You and Everyone We Know. Now, with her first collection of short stories, No One Belongs Here More Than You, Miranda July sets out to prove herself outrageously talented in yet another medium. May 23, 192 Books, 192 Tenth Ave, 212-255-4022

Kurt Andersen

Heyday begins in the Bowery of 1848, a time when the Manhattan vice district was so debauched that it makes the crack dens of the 1980s seem quaint. Lured by reports of gold, four friends band together to travel across the country to California. Unbeknownst to them, a ruthless murderer dogs at their heels. Written by journalist (and Spy co-founder) Kurt Andersen, Heyday is filled with celebrities from history's A-list—Walt Whitman, Charles Darwin, and Alexis de Tocqueville among them. May 30, BAMcafé, 30 Lafayette Ave, Bklyn, 718-636-4100

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