Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Updates: More Honors for '08 Collections; Franco-phile or Franco-phobe?

All right, we're (almost) ready to (maybe) put last week's Story Prize event behind us (kind of). Here are a few short-fiction related items that have come up in recent days or that we were too obsessed to point out in the last few weeks. Of particular note: 2008's bumper crop of short story collections is still making news, as is an upcoming collection from a scruffy young talent. And the Pulitzers are yet to come (Apr. 20).
  • Jhumpa Lahiri's Unaccustomed Earth is the Europe and South Asia Regional winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best Book. The overall winner will be announced on May 16. (Go, Jhumpa!) And Uwem Akpan's Say You're One of Them is in the running for the Best First Book.
  • Tomorrow night the National Book Critics Circle will announce their award winners. Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge, as previously noted, is among the fiction finalists.
  • Joan Silber's The Size of the World is a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award for fiction.
  • Sarah Shun-lien Bynum's Ms. Hempel Chronicles was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner award, which Joseph O'Neill's Netherland won.
  • Actor James Franco sold a short story collection to Nan Graham at Scribner. He's currently a student in the MFA program at Columbia University. The stories are set in Palo Alto, Calif., whose high school he paid a visit to in November, 2007, in search of material (see photo). No doubt name (and face) recognition didn't hurt, but let's not be too hasty to pre-judge. Franco will be bringing some extra attention to short fiction, and that's generally a good thing.