Tuesday, February 16, 2021

The Story Prize Longlist for Short Story Collections Published in 2020


Not pictured: Animal Spirit by Francesca Marciano

In 2020, The Story Prize received as entries 121 books published by 82 publishers or imprints. We choose the shortlist of three finalists first, then release our longlist a few weeks later. The three finalistsThe Story Prize Spotlight Award winner, and the longlist combined highlight 24 books this time. Because of the high number of entries last year, we're including a few more books than usual. Here then is our longlist of 20 outstanding short story collections (links are to guest Instagram posts):

  • Aligator by Dima Alzayat (Two Dollar Radio)
  • Why Visit America by Matthew Baker (Henry Holt and Company)
  • Daddy by Emma Cline (Random House)
  • Heartland Calamitous by Michael Credico (Autumn House Press)
  • If The Body Allows It by Megan Cummins (University of Nebraska Press)
  • Crooked Hallelujah by Kelli Jo Ford (Grove Press)
  • The Prince of Mournful Thoughts by Caroline Kim (University of Pittsburgh Press)
  • Animal Spirit by Francesa Marciano (Pantheon Books)
  • Cool for America by Andrew Martin (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Why I Don't Write by Susan Minot (Alfred A. Knopf)
  • The World Doesn't Work That Way, but It Could by Xyta Maya Murray (University of Nevada Press)
  • Sleepovers by Ashleigh Bryant Phillips (Hub City Writers Project)
  • Last One Out Shut Off the Lights by Stephanie Soileau (Little, Brown and Company)
  • You Will Never Be Forgotten by Mary South (FSG Originals)
  • And I Do Not Forgive You by Amber Sparks (Liveright Publishing)
  • A House Is a Body by Shruti Swamy (Algonquin Books)
  • How to Pronounce Knife by Souvankham Thammavongsa (Little, Brown and Company)
  • I Hold a Wolf by the Ears by Laura van den Berg (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
  • Sansei and Sensibility by Karen Tei Yamashita (Coffee House Press)
  • Verge by Lidia Yuknavitch (Riverhead Books)

Copies of these short story collections are available through our list 2020/21 Story Prize finalists, Spotlight Award winner, and long list books on Bookshop. We've also posted a shopping list of all the short story collections we received as entries in 2020.

Although 2020 was by no means a great year overall, it was a great year for short story collections, and more than a dozen other books could easily have made this list. It's always difficult to narrow the field down, and it seems to get harder every year.
Writing, assembling, and publishing a short story collection takes years of creative effort and remarkable perseverance. Every writer who published one in 2020 truly accomplished something significant and deserves an enormous amount of credit.

We'll announce the winner of The Story Prize on March 10, at which time we'll post a video that will feature readings by and interviews with the three finalists: Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Danielle Evans, and Deesha Philyaw.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Inheritors by Asako Serizawa Is the Winner of The Story Prize Spotlight Award

Beyond naming three finalists each January, we also present The Story Prize Spotlight Award to a collection of exceptional merit. Selected books can be promising works by first-time authors, collections in alternative formats, or works that demonstrate an unusual perspective on the writer's craft. The award includes a prize of $1,000. 

We're pleased to announce that the winner for books published in 2020 is Inheritors by Asako Serizawa, published by Doubleday. It's a debut collection of thirteen formally inventive, beautifully written, and sometimes heartbreaking stories about five generations of a Japanese family.      

Photo: Matthew Modica
You can find links to by all nine books, including Serizawa's, on Bookshop, in the list Winners of The Story Prize Spotlight Award.

We'll announce the winner of The Story Prize on March 10, at which time we'll post a video that will feature readings by and interviews with the three finalists: Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Danielle Evans, and Deesha Philyaw. Before then, we'll post a long list of short story collections published in 2020.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

The 2020/21 Finalists for The Story Prize Are: Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, Danielle Evans, and Deesha Philyaw

The Story Prize, now in its 17th year, is pleased to honor as its finalists three outstanding short story collections chosen from 121 submissions representing 89 different publishers or imprints. They are*:

We will announce the winner on the evening of Wednesday, March 10, at which time The Story Prize will post a video including readings by and interviews with finalists Bynum, Evans, and Philyaw, as well as the announcement of the winner and acceptance of the $20,000 top prize and the engraved silver bowl that goes with it. The runners-up will each receive $5,000. 

Story Prize Founder Julie Lindsey and Director Larry Dark selected the finalists. Three independent judges will determine the winner:

  • Writer and Critic Ismail Muhammad,
  • Independent Bookseller Margot Sage-EL, and
  • Author Karen Shepard

In the weeks ahead, we'll announce this year's winner of The Story Prize Spotlight Award. We'll also publish a long list of other exceptional collections we read last year, and more information about the video we'll be posting in lieu of a live event.

* Links for book titles are to Bookshop.org. Links for author names are to guest Instagram posts.