Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Video of The Story Prize Event: Edwidge Danticat (winner), Kali Fajardo-Anstine, and Zadie Smith

Here's the video of The Story Prize event, featuring the three finalists—Edwidge Danticat (the winner), Kali Fajardo-Anstine, and Zadie Smith—reading from and discussing their work:

Thursday, February 27, 2020

What The Story Prize Judges Had to Say About This Year's Winner, Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat

Photo © Beowulf Sheehan
When the three judges for The Story Prize make their choices, they provide citations for the books. This year's judges were writer and librarian Kristen Arnett, publisher Andy Hunter, and writer Tiphanie Yanique. We include the citations in congratulatory letters we present to each finalist, along with their checks ($20,000 to the winner, $5,000 to the other two finalists). To protect the confidentiality of the judges' votes and the integrity of the process, we don't attribute citations to any particular judge.

Here what the judges had to say about Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat:
“The stories contained in Everything Inside are powerfully written. They are rooted in place and in family. From beginning to end, I found myself spellbound by the care taken with character. Relationships between parent and child, between neighbors and coworkers, and between created families: These bonds were so incredibly, carefully rendered. Love beginning and ending. Life beginning and ending. The way that Edwidge Danticat writes about place—specifically Miami and Haiti—left me feeling as though I were seeing something for the first time. We are all lucky such an important voice is in the world, creating such tender work.”
 “It is something to see a writer whose previous work is already canonical write a story collection with the fierce desperation and love usually seen in first books. But Danticat is not one of our regular writers, she is a harking angel. She comes to tell us that the world is new, again and again, and that stories will not lose their urgency, their necessity. These stories zoom from the globality of immigration and natural disaster, to see the human being beneath the news stories and the humanity within each tragedy. Death is a major theme of these stories, and hope does not always prevail, but there remains a belief in human dignity and the importance of acknowledging the humanity in others. This shows in Danticat's choice of words but most often in her choice of narrator—not a spurned wife, but the daughter who never knew her father; not an earthquake survivor, but his lover. Danticat is a cherished writer for lovers of fiction and this book will also be cherished by lovers of politics, sociology and well, lovers of human beings.”



What The Story Prize Judges Had to Say About Finalist Grand Union by Zadie Smith

Photo © Beowulf Sheehan
When the three judges for The Story Prize make their choices, they provide citations for the books. This year's judges were writer and librarian Kristen Arnett, publisher Andy Hunter, and writer Tiphanie Yanique. We include the citations in congratulatory letters we present to each finalist, along with their checks ($20,000 to the winner, $5,000 to the other two finalists). To protect the confidentiality of the judges' votes and the integrity of the process, we don't attribute citations to any particular judge.

Here's what the judges had to say about Grand Union by Zadie Smith:
“In 1964, the artist Jasper Johns wrote a note to himself: ‘Take an object / Do something to it / Do something else to it.’ Instructions for artmaking, they resonate for story-making as well. ‘Tell a story. Do something to it. Do something else to it.’ All writers tell a story. The good ones do something to it: tell it in a way we haven’t heard before, give it a fresh truth. The great ones then do something else to it. Zadie Smith is a great one; the ‘something else’ she does to her stories is skin them with a flick of a knife, revealing everything—every muscle, nerve, twitch and throb of life. Just when you think you know where she’s leading you, she zooms out, opening up the narrative to ambiguity and multiple truths. These stories demonstrate her supreme awareness—self-awareness, yes, but also acute and wise awareness of others, and awareness of ‘the whole game, from top to bottom.’”

What The Story Prize Judges Had to Say About Finalist Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Photo © Beowulf Sheehan
When the three judges for The Story Prize make their choices, they provide citations for the books. This year's judges were writer and librarian Kristen Arnett, publisher Andy Hunter, and writer Tiphanie Yanique. We include the citations in congratulatory letters we present to each finalist, along with their checks ($20,000 to the winner, $5,000 to the other two finalists). To protect the confidentiality of the judges' votes and the integrity of the process, we don't attribute citations to any particular judge.

Here what the judges had to say about Sabrina & Corina by Kali Fajardo-Anstine:

“This is a short story collection that will find its way into your dreams—often as nightmares. The women of these stories will awake you in the middle of the night—they will be a warning. Fajardo-Anstine crafts each story around major turning points in the lives of Native and Latinx women from and of Colorado. As a writer, she is able to build characters who withstand and succumb to incredible physical pain and emotional strife-—but we never feel that we must look away. She makes her characters human enough that we feel it our duty to look, to keep reading. Without being overly plot driven, the stories are page turners. Without being overly dramatic, the stories make the reader feel agony. Fajardo-Anstine achieves this by writing with restraint in her sentences but with brimming emotional and physical honesty. Women have bodies, emotions, histories—and most of all women have each other. After each story I found myself wanting to call, touch, be with my sister, friends, daughters, nieces, cousins, aunts, mothers. Another way to be with them is to say, read this book.”

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Edwidge Danticat Is the First Ever Two-Time Winner of The Story Prize for Everything Inside!

We're pleased to announce that Edwidge Danticat's Everything Inside (Alfred A. Knopf) is the winner of The Story Prize for books published in 2019. This makes her the 16th winner of The Story Prize and the first writer to win it twice. Danticat was the first winner of The Story Prize in 2005. The other finalists this year were authors Kali Fajardo-Anstine for Sabrina & Corina (One World) and Zadie Smith for Grand Union (Penguin Press). At the event at The New School, all three finalists read from and discussed their work on-stage. Danticat received $20,000 and an engraved silver bowl. As runners-up, Fajardo-Anstine and Smith each received $5,000. Congratulations to Edwidge Danticat and Alfred A. Knopf!

In the days and weeks to come, we'll post the judges' citations for the three books, photos from the event and after-party, and a link to the video.

Monday, January 27, 2020

The Story Prize Longlist for Short Story Collections Published in 2019

In 2019, The Story Prize received as entries 94 books published by 72 publishers or imprints. We choose the shortlist of three finalists first, then release our longlist a few weeks later. Between the three finalistsThe Story Prize Spotlight Award winner, and the longlist, we acknowledge a total of 20 books. Here then is the longlist of 16 outstanding short story collections:


Every writer who published a short story collection in 2019 accomplished something of great significance and deserves an enormous amount of credit. It's always difficult to narrow the field down, and this time was no exception.

We'll announce the winner of The Story Prize at an event co-sponsored with The New School's Creative Writing program at the auditorium at 66 W. 12 Street on March 6. At the event, finalists Edwidge Danticat, Kali Fajardo-Anstine, and Zadie Smith will read from and discuss their work. You can buy tickets in advance online or that night at the box office.

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Trojan War Museum by Ayşe Papatya Bucak Is the Winner of The Story Prize Spotlight Award

Beyond naming three finalists each January, we also present The Story Prize Spotlight Award to a collection of exceptional merit. Selected books can be promising works by first-time authors, collections in alternative formats, or works that demonstrate an unusual perspective on the writer's craft. The award includes a prize of $1,000. 

We're pleased to announce that the winner for books published in 2018 is The Trojan War Museum by Ayşe Papatya Bucak (W.W. Norton), a collection of ten inventive stories that through a variety of historical and contemporary settings deftly explores issues of identity, history, culture, myth, and mythmaking
This is the seventh time we've given out The Story Prize Spotlight Award. The six previous winners were: Drifting House by Krys Lee, Byzantium by Ben Stroud, Praying Drunk by Kyle MinorKilling and Dying by Adrian TomineHim, Me, Muhammad Ali by Randa Jarrar, Subcortical by Lee Conelland Half Gods by Akil Kumarasamy. 

Congratulations to Ayşe Papatya Bucak and W.W. Norton for winning The Story Prize Spotlight Award for short story collections published in 2019.