In 2016, The Story Prize received as entries 106 books published by 72 publishers or imprints. We aim for a broad definition of what a "short story collection" is. Some books labeled as novels, for instance, sometimes also work as story collections, particularly when each chapter or section has a distinct title and introduces new characters or situations.
As difficult as it is to choose three finalists, it is in many ways just as difficult to come up with a long list of other notable story collections. I don't think we can repeat this often enough: Anyone who publishes a short story collection has accomplished something significant and nothing should diminish that achievement. More than a dozen other books we read this past year could have been on this list. But ultimately, even a long list can only be so long.
Here then is a list (alphabetical by author) of other books we read in 2016—beyond the three finalists and The Story Prize Spotlight Award winner—that particularly stood out for us:
- Bull by Kathy Anderson (Autumn House)
- We Show What We Have Learned by Claire Beams (Lookout Books)
- Swallowed by the Cold by Jensen Beach (Graywolf Press)
- The Rope Swing by Jonathan Corcoran (Vandalia Press)
- When Watched by Leopoldine Core (Penguin Books)
- The Fortunes by Peter Ho Davies (Harcourt Houghton Mifflin)
- Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (Alfred A. Knopf)
- The Fat Artist by Benjamin Hale (Simon & Schuster)
- Prodigals by Greg Jackson (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
- In the Not Quite Dark by Dana Johnson (Counterpoint)
- What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi (Riverhead Books)
- The Dream Life of Astronauts by Patrick Ryan (The Dial Press)
- Insurrections by Rion Amilcar Scott (The University Press of Kentucky)
- Children of the New World by Alexander Weinstein (Picador)
- Ninety-Nine Stories of God by Joy Williams (Tin House)
- Dog Years by Melissa Yancy (University of Pittsburgh Press)
We'll announce the winner of The Story Prize at an event co-sponsored with The New School's Creative Writing program at the Auditorium at 66 W. 12 Street on March 8. At the event, finalists Rick Bass, Anna Noyes, and Helen Maryles Shankman will read from and discuss their work. You can buy tickets in advance online, or that night at the box office.