Friday, January 09, 2009

The Story Prize 2009

THE STORY PRIZE, an annual award for books of short fiction, now in its fifth year, has announced its shortlist for 2009. The three finalists are Jhumpa Lahiri for Unaccustomed Earth (Alfred A. Knopf, 2008), Joe Meno for Demons in the Spring (Akashic Books, 2008) and Tobias Wolff for Our Story Begins (Alfred A. Knopf, 2008).

These three books were selected from among 73 story collections from 56 different publishers or imprints. Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth debuted at number one on the New York Times Best-Seller List and was the unanimous choice for the 2008 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Meno’s Demons in the Spring is published by small press Akashic Books in a limited edition with original illustrations by 20 artists from the fine art, graphic, and comic-book worlds—and part of the proceeds benefit 826Chicago, a drop-in tutoring centre. Wolff’s Our Story Begins includes 16 stories from three previous collections and adds ten new stories to the mix, representing a substantial selection of accomplished work.

Founder Julie Lindsey and Director Larry Dark selected the finalists for The Story Prize. Three independent judges will determine the winner. This year’s judges are Daniel Menaker (former executive editor-in-chief of Random House and fiction editor at The New Yorker, and the author of a novel and two short-story collections), Rick Simonson (who founded and directs the nationally renowned reading series of Seattle’s Elliott Bay Books) and Hannah Tinti (award-winning author of the novel The Good Thief and short-story collection Animal Crackers and the editor of literary magazine One Story).

The Story Prize’s annual event, featuring readings and interviews with each of the finalists, will take place at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium in New York City at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4, 2009. The past winners of The Story Prize are Edwidge Danticat’s The Dew Breaker (2005), Patrick O’Keeffe’s The Hill Road (2006), Mary Gordon’s The Stories of Mary Gordon (2007), and Jim Shepard’s Like You’d Understand, Anyway (2008).


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