When the three judges for The Story Prize make their choices, they provide citations for the books. This year's judges were Arsen Kashkashian, Noreen Tomassi, and Laura van den Berg. We include the citations in congratulatory letters we present to each finalist, along with their checks ($20,000 to the winner, $5,000 to the other two finalists). To protect the confidentiality of the judges' votes and the integrity of the process, we don't attribute citations to any particular judge.
Bark is the great American short story collection. It shows how much can be accomplished in the form without any of the seams ever showing. These eight stories are great tragedies, with all the comedy present that is inherent to the form. The situations portrayed are the stuff of life’s middle period, when things fall apart. People divorce or die; children become less than their potential; the political becomes personal. I have never read a more heartbroken collection, and I laughed the whole time. Welcome to America.