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UWEM AKPAN, the Nigerian-born Jesuit priest whose début short-story collection, Say You’re One of Them (Little, Brown, 2008), has been chosen by Oprah Winfrey as her next Book Club pick. This is the first time the US talk-show maven has chosen a short-story collection, I believe. Akpan studied philosophy and English at Creighton and Gonzaga universities, then studied theology for three years at the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. He was ordained a Jesuit priest in 2003 and received his master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Michigan in 2006.
THE WINNER of the 2009 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize will be announced any time now. So, who will it be? Will it be Petina Gappah (An Elegy for Easterly), Shih-Li Koh (Ripples and Other Stories), Wells Tower (Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned), Simon Van Booy (Love Begins in Winter), Charlotte Grimshaw (Singularity) or Philip Ó Ceallaigh (The Pleasant Light of Day)?
It has been announced that SIMON VAN BOOY’s Love Begins in Winter (HarperCollins USA/Beautiful Books, 2008) is the winner of the world’s richest prize for a short-story collection. Van Booy is the author of a previous short-story collection, The Secret Lives of People in Love. His first novel will be published in 2010. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this collection. Previous winners of the Frank O include Yiyun Li (A Thousand Years of Good Prayers), Haruki Murakami (Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman), Miranda July (No One Belongs Here More Than You) and Jhumpa Lahiri (Unaccustomed Earth).