Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Genius Authors, Enduring Works, Book Club Choices, Best-Sellers, Award Winners

I can't keep up with all of the great things that are happening for short stories and short story writers, so for now, I'm just going to list the latest and hope to circle back later to discuss some of these at greater length. Here's what has been happening so far this month:

Two Short Story Writers Win MacArthur Foundation Fellowships.
Among this years "genius grant" recipients are short story writer Deborah Eisenberg (a pure play) and the first ever winner of The Story Prize, Edwidge Danticat, whose second short story collection, The Dew Breaker, is often classified as a novel.

Four of the Six Finalists for the Best of the National Book Awards Fiction Are Short Story Collections.
In 60 years, and out of 77 books, only 11 have been short story collections. But a panel of 140 writers chose four of those books among the six finalists. Those collections are: The Stories of John Cheever, The Collected Stories of William Faulkner, The Complete Stories of Flannery O'Connor, and The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty. Short story collections are, without a doubt, among the most enduring works of American literature.

The Latest Oprah's Book Club Selection Is a Short Story Collection.
On September 18, Oprah Winfrey announced that Say You're One of Them by Uwem Akpan is the next book club selection--the first time she's chosen a short story collection.

Soon There Will Be Three Short Story Collections on The New York Times Best-Seller List.
When Akpan's book hits The New York Times Best-Seller List for trade paperbacks, it's very likely that it will join two other short story collections: Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout and Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. Who says short story collections don't sell?

The Inaugural $50,000 St. Francis College Literary Prize Goes to a Short Story Collection.
On September 12, as part of the Brooklyn Book Festival, Aleksander Hemon's short story collection Love and Obstacles was announced as the winner of this new book award for mid-career authors.

In addition, the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award just announced it's surprising winner, Simon Van Booy's Love Begins in Winter.

More on much of this later. For now, I rest my case.