Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Long List (That Could Be Even Longer)

Since the second year of The Story Prize, we've posted a list of other notable books beyond the three we choose as our finalists each year. Here are fifteen other highly recommended short story collections published in 2009:

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, The Thing Around Your Neck (Alfred A. Knopf)

Robert Boswell, The Heyday of the Insensitive Bastards (Graywolf Press)

Bonnie Jo Campbell, American Salvage (Wayne State University Press and, later, W.W. Norton)

Louise Erdrich, The Red Convertible (HarperCollins)

Brian Evenson, Fugue State (Coffee House Press)

Petina Gappah, An Elegy for Easterly (Faber and Faber)

Aleksander Hemon, Love And Obstacles (Riverhead Books)

Barb Johnson, More of This World or Maybe Another (Harper Perennial)

James Lasdun, It's Beginning to Hurt (Farrar, Straus & Giroux)

J. Robert Lennon, Pieces for the Left Hand (Graywolf Prress)

Caitlin Macy, Spoiled (Random House)

Lydia Millet, Love in Infant Monkeys (Soft Skull Press)

Lori Ostlund, The Bigness of the World (University of Georgia Press)

Jean Thompson, Do Not Deny Me (Simon & Schuster)

Laura van den Berg, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books)

These selections are, as always subjective, and not being on the list should in no way detract from the achievements of the other collections we read. Every writer who published a book of short stories in 2009 beat the odds and achieved something significant, and there are, of course, quite a few other collections well worth reading.

It's hard to narrow down the choices to a reasonable number of notable books from the 75 or so we read each year (78 in 2009), and it seems like every year it gets harder, with even more good collections to choose from. Short fiction gained some serious momentum in 2009, and I believe that will only continue.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Story Prize Finalists Mueenuddin, Patterson, and Tower Are All Over the Place

Here are some links to essays by, interviews with, and other miscellanea from the three finalists for The Story Prize—Daniyal Mueenuddin, Victoria Patterson, and Wells Tower. Remember, all three finalists will read from their work and discuss it onstage at The New School, in New York City, on Wed., March 3 at 7:30 pm. And at the end of the evening, we will announce the winner.

Daniyal Mueenuddin
  • Ron Hogan's prescient introduction* to Daniyal Mueeduddin writing about a story by Turgenev in January 2009 on
  • An interview on NPR's Morning Edition in November 2009.
  • Tour dates for the paperback edition, Jan. 19-25.

Victoria Patterson

Wells Tower
Of course, the best way to experience these collections is to read Mueenuddin's In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, Patterson's Drift, and Tower's Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned.

* I erroneously characterized this as an interview when this was first posted.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Three Debut Writers Are Finalists For The Story Prize

After reading 78 short story collections in 2009 and seriously considering a dozen or so strong candidates, Julie Lindsey (the founder of The Story Prize) and I selected the finalists for The Story Prize in early January. It's always difficult for us to narrow down our choices to just three collections and it seems to get harder every year. But, as always, we're excited about our choices. This year's finalists for The Story Prize are:

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin (W. W. Norton)
Drift by Victoria Patterson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)

What's particularly exciting is that all three are debuts--a first for The Story Prize. In fact, in the previous five years of the award, only 2 of 15 finalists were the authors' first books: 2004/05 finalist
The Circus in Winter by Cathy Day and 2005/06 winner The Hill Road by Patrick O'Keeffe.

All three of these collections are exceptional and rewarding reads. Look for more about each of them here. In the days ahead, I'll also be releasing a list of other notable short story collections from 2009. In the weeks leading up to our event, I hope to spotlight some of these books in addition to the finalists.

This year's event, by the way, is at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 3, at The New School in New York City (66 West 12th Street). That night, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Victoria Patterson, and Wells Tower will read from their short story collections and discuss their work onstage. At the end of the evening, Julie Lindsey will announce the winner. 

For information on buying general admission tickets, which cost $14, go to and search for "Story Prize" or contact The New School box office at or 212- 229-5488.

For those of you in New York, our official bookseller, McNally Jackson, will be giving away a limited number of tickets in the weeks leading up to the event. And for those who can’t make it, a Web cast will appear on several weeks later.