|© Beowulf Sheehan|
"My strong thanks for this honor. I particularly want to thank Larry Dark and Julie Lindsey for selecting the three final collections, and Sherman Alexie, Breon Mitchell, and Louise Steinman for choosing We Others. In addition, I wish to thank my editor, Robin Desser, who fought for the idea for a New and Selected Stories against my skeptical protest – I feared that such a book could only be a tombstone – and my agent, Amanda Urban, who has been unfailingly supportive for more than twenty-five years and whom I would trust with anything.
"Most American writers begin with the short story and then become novelists – for them, the short story is a kind of apprenticeship. My own history is backward: I began as a novelist and later turned to the short story. Exactly why this is so remains mysterious even to me. But the crucial thing is that I didn’t turn to the story as a form of preparation for something larger or more important – on the contrary, it’s as if the novel were a kind of preparation for the rigorous pleasures of the shorter form. For me, the shortness of a great story is part of its greatness. In any case, I love and revere this form of writing, and hold it second to no other form; and I’m grateful, deeply grateful, that the short story should be recognized on an occasion such as this. Thank you."