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.