Thursday, February 27, 2020

What The Story Prize Judges Had to Say About This Year's Winner, Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat

Photo © Beowulf Sheehan
When the three judges for The Story Prize make their choices, they provide citations for the books. This year's judges were writer and librarian Kristen Arnett, publisher Andy Hunter, and writer Tiphanie Yanique. We include the citations in congratulatory letters we present to each finalist, along with their checks ($20,000 to the winner, $5,000 to the other two finalists). To protect the confidentiality of the judges' votes and the integrity of the process, we don't attribute citations to any particular judge.

Here what the judges had to say about Everything Inside by Edwidge Danticat:
“The stories contained in Everything Inside are powerfully written. They are rooted in place and in family. From beginning to end, I found myself spellbound by the care taken with character. Relationships between parent and child, between neighbors and coworkers, and between created families: These bonds were so incredibly, carefully rendered. Love beginning and ending. Life beginning and ending. The way that Edwidge Danticat writes about place—specifically Miami and Haiti—left me feeling as though I were seeing something for the first time. We are all lucky such an important voice is in the world, creating such tender work.”
 “It is something to see a writer whose previous work is already canonical write a story collection with the fierce desperation and love usually seen in first books. But Danticat is not one of our regular writers, she is a harking angel. She comes to tell us that the world is new, again and again, and that stories will not lose their urgency, their necessity. These stories zoom from the globality of immigration and natural disaster, to see the human being beneath the news stories and the humanity within each tragedy. Death is a major theme of these stories, and hope does not always prevail, but there remains a belief in human dignity and the importance of acknowledging the humanity in others. This shows in Danticat's choice of words but most often in her choice of narrator—not a spurned wife, but the daughter who never knew her father; not an earthquake survivor, but his lover. Danticat is a cherished writer for lovers of fiction and this book will also be cherished by lovers of politics, sociology and well, lovers of human beings.”