The L Magazine named the “best of New York City” in various categories, including the “Best Short Stories Published by NYC Publications”. First on the list? One Story issue #102, “What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us” by Laura van den Berg. The other three stories were in The New Yorker, Harper’s and A Public Space. You can order copies of the issue here.
(Lam, Shepard & Hadley share a drink after the event)For those of us who write short stories but are under constant pressure to write novels because story collections don’t sell, The Story Prize is a welcome reminder that short fiction still matters to some people. The Story Prize gives $20,000 to the author of an outstanding story collection published in English during the previous year. This year’s three finalists, selected by Story Prize director Larry Dark and Story Prize founder Julie Lindsey were Sunstroke and Other Stories by Tessa Hadley, Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures by Vincent Lam, and Like You’d Understand, Anyway by Jim Shepard. On Wednesday, February 27th, at an award ceremony at The New School, literati gathered to hear each of the three finalists read an excerpt from one of their stories and then join Larry Dark on stage for a short conversation about their work. It was like being at a story writers’ version of the Oscars, where, instead of Nicole Kidman and Meryl Streep, the dazzling stars in attendance included Amy Hempel, Jayne Anne Phillips and David Gates (who was a judge this year.) One Story Editor Hannah Tinti, Managing Editor Pei-Ling Lue and I were in the audience to savor every word. Any of these three phenomenal collections would have been worthy of the prize, but this year’s winner is Jim Shepard (who read for One Story on January 4th.) Jim’s acceptance speech was so generous in its praise of the other two collections that it was a reminder that every great writer is also a great reader. And speaking of reading, if you haven’t read these three collections, buy them now. You won’t be disappointed. To see a webcast of the entire event, go here.
Upcoming One Story author Laura van den Berg was awarded the first annual Dzanc Prize today, which gives $5,000 to an author volunteering in their community who is also trying to complete a manuscript. Laura will be teaching creative writing to prisoners and putting together an anthology of their work. Look for Laura’s story, “What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us” when we publish it, early next year.
Congratulations to Rebecca Barry (One Story issue # 17, “Midnight Soup”) and Dalia Sofer (winner of the 2007 Sirenland Fellowship). Rebecca’s novel in stories, Later at the Bar, and Dalia’s novel, The Septembers of Shiraz, were both picked as top 100 “Notable Books” of 2007 by the New York Times. See the full list here.
This year I’m on the jury of a really interesting and unique award that One Story readers might be interested in hearing about. It’s called the Tiptree award, and it’s awarded to a work of speculative (or fantastic, or non-realist, or whatever term works best for you) literature that “explores or expands our ideas of gender.” The award was named after the writer Alice Sheldon, who wrote under the pen name James Tiptree Jr., and whose work was described as “fundamentally masculine” until her identity came to light. (A fabulous, and award-winning, biography entitled James Tiptree Jr.: The Double Life of Alice B. Sheldon, was published last year.) Writers such as Kelly Link, Geoff Ryman, Matt Ruff, Ursula K. LeGuin, and Shelley Jackson have received the award, and it was co-founded by writers Pat Murphy and Karen Joy Fowler. The award not only recognizes work that’s dealing with gender but helps to foster discussion about how ideas of gender are changing in our society, and I’m so excited to be serving on the jury for 2007.
Much of the work the jury considers comes via web recommendations — if you’ve read something recently that you’d like to recommend, you can drop us a line here. To learn more about the award, visit the website.