Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Big Payoffs, Prize-Winning Collections, Self-Publishing Heavies, Celebrity Authors

While we wait for the 2010 entries to roll in, here (as we've done before) are some notable news briefs about short stories and short story collections.

A Kiwi Breaks the Bank
The winner of The Sunday Times EFG Private Bank short story award is New Zealand writer C.K. Stead for his story "Last Season's Man." At £25,000, this is probably the largest prize for a single story.

Alexie Wins the PEN/Faulkner Award
Sherman Alexie's story collection War Dances has won the prestigious annual $15,000 PEN/Faulkner Award. Another short story collection, Lorraine M. Lopez' Homicide Survivors Picnic was a finalist, adding to the list of 2009 short fiction titles honored as book award finalists. Alexie's collection, by the way, was not entered for The Story Prize.

A Big Time Literary Author Goes DIY
Author John Edgar Wideman has self-published his latest book, a story collection, Briefs: Stories for the Palm of the Mind (inspired by Kawabata's classic Palm of the Hand Stories), on the Lulu site. Lulu has also brought back into print much of Wideman's back-list. Mark my words, this is one way disintermediation is going to play out, and more authors are likely to go the do-it-yourself route.

Two Actor/Writers (and One Writer/Actor)
Esquire magazine has published a story by MFA student and movie star James Franco, "Just Before the Black." Scribner will be publishing Franco's collection Palo Alto in September. Another actor, Gene Wilder, has a collection just out from St. Martin's Press, What Is This Thing Called Love. And let's not forget Sam Shepard, who earned his rep as a writer before gaining fame as an actor. His book, Day Out of Days, is on shelves now from the good folks at Alfred A. Knopf.

Soon to come: PEN/Malamud and the Pulitzer Prize, which I'm hoping a short story collection will once again win (though I'm not holding my breath).