Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Sana Krasikov, Young Lioness and "Winner"

As I learned via Twitter (@RonHogan), Sana Krasikov's much lauded short story collection, One More Year, is among the finalists for the New York Public Library's Young Lions Fiction Award. It's up against four novels: Jon Fasman's The Geographer's Library, Rivka Galchen's Atmospheric Disturbances, Zachary Mason's The Lost Books of the Odyssey, and Salvatore Scibona's The End, which was also a National Book Awards finalist. 

To return to something I've griped about before, the Young Lions Fiction Award Web page still had last year's finalists up—hours after its announcement went out. Come on, Young Lions, you have to coordinate your site with your announcement! Get on the stick, Ethan Hawke!

On the plus side, the Young Lions usually don't go for the obvious choices. I always find out about books I hadn't heard of before when they "announce" their finalists. And two of the books this year are from small presses, which is always a plus. Graywolf is Scibona's publisher and Starcherone Press is Mason's. 

One odd thing about the paperback cover of Krasikov's book is that it proclaims her a "winner" of the National Book Awards' 5 Under 35, which isn't an award, it's an event—five past NBA finalists or winners choose a writer under 35 to read from her or his work. Francine Prose chose One More Year. It is an honor and a mark of distinction, but couldn't the faux seal just have said "A National Book Award 5 Under 35 Selection" or something accurate like that? The paperback isn't out until August, so maybe they'll trumpet the Young Lions selection instead, especially if Krasikov wins. I'm pulling for her, but my money's on Galchen.

By the way, speaking of awkward segues, the Story Prize event is two weeks from tonight, on March 4 at the New School. Our lions of varying ages are (of course) Jhumpa Lahiri, Joe Meno, and Tobias Wolff. They'll read from and discuss their work onstage before we announce the winner. Tickets are still available.