Thursday, February 24, 2022

The Story Prize Longlist for Story Collections Published in 2021

Writing, assembling, and publishing a short story collection takes years of creative effort and remarkable perseverance. Every writer who published a collection in 2021 truly accomplished something significant and deserves an enormous amount of credit. Last year, The Story Prize received as entries 119 books published by 90 publishers or imprints. We choose the shortlist of three finalists first, then release our longlist a few weeks later. The three finalists, The Story Prize Spotlight Award winner, and the longlist combined highlight 20 books. Here then is our longlist of 16 outstanding short story collections (links are to Bookshop):

You Never Get It Back by Cara Blue Adams (University of Iowa Press)
The Ghost Variations by Kevin Brockmeier (Pantheon)
Land of Big Numbers by Te-Ping Chen (Mariner)
Skinship by Yoon Choi (Alfred A. Knopf)
Gordo by Jaime Cortez (Black Cat)
Life Among the Terranauts by Caitlin Horrocks (Little, Brown)
Love Like Water, Love Like Fire by Mikhail Iossel (Bellevue Literary Press)
My Monticello by Jocelyn Nicole Johnson (Henry Holt)
The Souvenir Museum by Elizabeth McCracken (Ecco Press)
Milk Blood Heat by Dantiel W. Moniz (Grove Press)
The Ones Who Don't Say They Love You by Maurice Carlos Ruffin (One World)
King of the Animals by Josh Russell (Louisiana State University Press)
American Estrangement by Saïd Sayrafiezadeh (W.W. Norton)
Are You Enjoying? by Mira Sethi (Alfred A. Knopf)
Attrib. by Eley Williams (Anchor Books)
Monster in the Middle by Tiphanie Yanique (Riverhead Books)

We've posted a Bookshop list of all the story collections that we received as entries in 2021. It was a great year for short story collections, and more than 20 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. 

We also want to recognize several excellent books by accomplished short story writers published in 2021: The Glassy Burning, Floor of Hell by Brian Evenson, Big Dark Hole by Jeffrey Ford, The Uncollected Stories of Allan Gurganus, The (Other) You by Joyce Carol Oates, Prayer for the Living by Ben Okri, Excuse Me While I Disappear by Joanna Scott, Look for Me and I'll Be Gone by John Edgar Wideman, and Today a Woman Went Mad in the Supermarket by Hilma Wolitzer. 

Two other collections published in 2021 that weren't eligible for The Story Prize are also worth noting: Afterparties by Anthony Veasna So, who sadly died before his acclaimed debut collection was published, and Festival Days by Jo Ann Beard, a remarkable hybrid that includes a mix of short stories and essays. 

We'll announce the 18th winner of The Story Prize on April 13 at a private event that we'll livestream (details to come), featuring readings by and interviews with the three finalists—Lily King, J. Robert Lennon, and Brandon Taylor—followed by the announcement of the winner.