Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Official Announcement of the Finalists: DeLillo, Millhauser, and Pearlman


Three celebrated authors, whose collections span decades-long careers, vie for the richest top prize of any annual U.S. book award for fiction.

The Story Prize, an annual award for books of short fiction, is pleased to honor three outstanding short story collections chosen from among a field of 92 books that 60 different publishers or imprints submitted in 2011. The three finalists are:

  • The Angel Esmeralda by Don DeLillo (Scribner)
  • We Others by Steven Millhauser (Alfred A. Knopf)
  • Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman (Lookout Books)

The idea that the short story is a beginner’s form, one that novice writers cut their teeth on before turning to the more ambitious work of writing novels, is a common misconception. This year’s finalists for The Story Prize show that—to the contrary—top fiction writers often remain devoted to the demanding form of the short story throughout their careers.

Although The Angel Esmeralda is Don DeLillo’s first short story collection, the nine powerful stories, published between 1979 and 2011, echo quintessential career-long themes. The 21 ingenious stories in We Others by Steven Millhauser include seven newly collected pieces alongside selected work from four previous collections, going back to 1981. Edith Pearlman’s Binocular Vision combines 13 new stories and 21 previously collected stories, dating to 1976, from a career short story writer whose brilliant work has only recently captured much-deserved attention.

The Story Prize was established in 2004 to honor short story collections, which other major book awards for fiction often overlook, and is underwritten by the Chisholm Foundation. Although the audience for short story collections may be smaller than those for popular fiction and nonfiction, stories continue to inspire passionate and devoted followings in the U.S. and throughout the world.

The Story Prize’s annual event will take place at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium in New York City at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21. General admission tickets are $14, and student tickets are $10.

That night, the three finalists will read selections from their work, after which Director Larry Dark will interview each writer on-stage. At the end of the event, Founder Julie Lindsey will announce the winner and present that author with $20,000 and an engraved silver bowl. The two runners-up will each receive $5,000.

Previous winners of The Story Prize have been The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat, The Hill Road by Patrick O’Keeffe, The Stories of Mary Gordon by Mary Gordon, Like You’d Understand, Anyway by Jim Shepard, Our Story Begins by Tobias Wolff, In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin, and, most recently, Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr.

About the authors

Don DeLillo is the author of fifteen novels, including Falling Man, Libra, and White Noise, and three plays, in addition to the story collection The Angel Esmeralda. He has won the National Book Award, the PEN/Faulkner Award, the PEN/Saul Bellow Award for Achievement in American Fiction, and the Jerusalem Prize. In 2006, Underworld was named one of the three best novels of the last twenty-five years by The New York Times Book Review, and in 2000 it won the William Dean Howells Medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters for the most distinguished work of fiction of the past five years.

Steven Millhauser is the author of numerous works of fiction including Martin Dressler, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1997, and Dangerous Laughter, a New York Times Book Review Best Book of the Year. His work has been translated into fifteen languages, and his story “Eisenheim the Illusionist” was the basis of the 2006 film The Illusionist. His most recent collection, We Others, comprises seven new and fourteen selected stories, written over the past thirty years. He currently teaches at Skidmore College and lives in Saratoga Springs, New York.

Edith Pearlman is the recipient of the 2011 PEN/Malamud Award for excellence in the art of short fiction and the Wallant Award for fiction considered to have significance for the American Jew. She has published more than 250 works in national magazines and anthologies, including Best American Short Stories, The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, New Stories from the South, and The Pushcart Prize. She is the author of four story collections: Binocular Vision, which was also a finalist for the National Book Award; Vaquita, winner of the Drue Heinz Prize for Literature; Love Among the Greats, winner of the Spokane Fiction Award; and How to Fall, winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize. She lives in Brookline, Massachusetts.

Founder Julie Lindsey and Director Larry Dark selected the finalists for The Story Prize. This year’s judges are award-winning author Sherman Alexie, professor of Comparative Literature and translator Breon Mitchell, and curator of the Los Angeles Public Library's ALOUD Reading Series Louise Steinman.

For more on The Story Prize please visit our Web site at, read the official blog at, follow, or visit our Facebook page at