Wednesday, September 24, 2008

2 Out of 5 Under 35

The National Book Foundation has announced its "5 Under 35" event, and two of the five authors were selected for short story collections. In a nutshell, five previous national book award finalists or winners select and introduce five writers under 35 at an event in Manhattan that includes an emcee and a D.J. Young writers, editors, publishers, agents, and journalists are invited to attend. The idea--and it's not a bad one--is to reach out to a more youthful audience.

There's usually a short story collection or two among the bunch, and this year is no exception. Francine Prose has selected Sana Krasikov's One More Year: Stories , and Mary Gaitskill chose Nam Le's The Boat . Last year's winner of The Story Prize and National Book Awards finalist, Jim Shepard, picked a novel, Fiona Maazel's Last Last Chance--not that there's anything wrong with that.

Now, the question is: Will there be a story collection or two (or more) among the National Book Award finalists announced on Oct. 15 in Chicago? I can think of a few excellent candidates based on the reading we've done so far this year.