After reading 78 short story collections in 2009 and seriously considering a dozen or so strong candidates, Julie Lindsey (the founder of The Story Prize) and I selected the finalists for The Story Prize in early January. It's always difficult for us to narrow down our choices to just three collections and it seems to get harder every year. But, as always, we're excited about our choices. This year's finalists for The Story Prize are:
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin (W. W. Norton)
Drift by Victoria Patterson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)
What's particularly exciting is that all three are debuts--a first for The Story Prize. In fact, in the previous five years of the award, only 2 of 15 finalists were the authors' first books: 2004/05 finalist The Circus in Winter by Cathy Day and 2005/06 winner The Hill Road by Patrick O'Keeffe.
All three of these collections are exceptional and rewarding reads. Look for more about each of them here. In the days ahead, I'll also be releasing a list of other notable short story collections from 2009. In the weeks leading up to our event, I hope to spotlight some of these books in addition to the finalists.
This year's event, by the way, is at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 3, at The New School in New York City (66 West 12th Street). That night, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Victoria Patterson, and Wells Tower will read from their short story collections and discuss their work onstage. At the end of the evening, Julie Lindsey will announce the winner.
For information on buying general admission tickets, which cost $14, go to SmartTix.com and search for "Story Prize" or contact The New School box office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212- 229-5488.
For those of you in New York, our official bookseller, McNally Jackson, will be giving away a limited number of tickets in the weeks leading up to the event. And for those who can’t make it, a Web cast will appear on FORA.tv several weeks later.