Make way for the Story Prize


By Carmen Comment

The third annual Story Prize, the book award for short story collections written in English and published in the U.S., will be returning to the New School’s Tishman Auditorium on Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 7:30 p.m. The winner will get $20,000 and an engraved silver bowl while the two runners-up will receive $5,000 each. Judging the event this year is author Edwidge Danticat (who won the first Story Prize for The Dew Breaker),Mitchell Kaplan of South Florida’s Books & Books, and GalleyCat’s own Ron Hogan.

The Story Prize seems especially important at a time when the other major literary bodies, like the National Book Critics Circle and the National Book Foundation, are shying away from nominating short story collections on their shortlists. Story Prize organizer and founder Larry Dark especially found this year’s NBA fiction list to be “disappointing and surprising,” citing collections by Deborah Eisenberg, Mary Gordon, Edward P. Jones, Thomas McGuane, Antonya Nelson, Joyce Carol Oates, and George Saunders as among the “well-known writers” overlooked. But that just adds extra credence for his own creation: “Of course, one reason The Story Prize exists is because books of short fiction are rarely chosen as finalists by the major awards. So I guess all this justifies our existence.”