Last year, we established an additional award to complement The Story Prize, which we named The Story Prize Spotlight Award. The purpose is simply to honor an additional collection worthy of further attention.
This year's winner is Byzantium by Ben Stroud, published by Graywolf Press—a remarkable debut collection that spans continents and eras, from 7th Century Constantinople to post-Katrina Texas. Stroud creates memorable characters to inhabit these worlds, including Jackson Hieronymous Burke (aka "The Moor"), the son of a slave and plantation owner, who sets himself up as a detective in post-Civil War era Havana and, again in a second story, in Berlin at the end of the 19th century.
Byzantium won the 2012 Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Bakeless Fiction Prize. Stroud's stories have appeared in Harper’s Magazine, One Story, Electric Literature, Boston Review, and The American Scholar, among other places, and have been anthologized in New Stories from the South and Best American Mystery Stories. Originally from Texas, he holds a BA in English and History from the University of Texas at Austin and an MFA in Fiction and PhD in Twentieth-Century American Literature from the University of Michigan. He has taught literature and creative writing at universities in the U.S. and Germany. He currently is Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Toledo.