Michael Chabon may be the best-known writer living in Berkeley (although other Pulitzer Prize winners, like Alice Walker, have lived here at times). He certainly is among the most-respected.

The Wall Street Journal interviewed Chabon recently about the Bay Area literary life, which Chabon called a “vibrant, fun scene, and much less of a pressure cooker than New York.”

New Yorkers are too consumed by status, said Chabon. “That interconnectedness allows information to flow fast. Who got paid what. Who had a falling out with whom. The speed of the gossip network is almost instantaneous.”

But London is even worse than New York.

“It’s smaller and denser and everyone knows each other and hates each other—well, that’s the impression I got. London has a higher degree of intensity than New York, which is several degrees higher than San Francisco.”

Chabon declines to mention the Bay Area writers he admires because he is friends with so many he is afraid of leaving someone out. He does give a nod to Dave Eggers and all he has done with his 826 writing centers.

Then the Journal asks him which Bay Area writers are overrated.

“Just me,” says Chabon.

You got to hand it to a world-renowned figure who can make fun of himself.

Frances Dinkelspiel, Berkeleyside and CItyside co-founder, is a journalist and author. Her first book, Towers of Gold: How One Jewish Immigrant Named Isaias Hellman Created California, published in November...