Hannah Tinti Wins Pen/Magid Award!

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Yesterday, the Pen American Center  announced that Hannah Tinti had won the Pen/Nora Magid award, which honors a magazine editor whose high literary standards and taste have, throughout his or her career, contributed significantly to the excellence of the publication he or she edits. 

This award confirms what those of us who work with Hannah have known all along: She’s one of the best editors in the business.  

John Hodgman introduced me to Hannah almost fifteen years ago. She was getting her M.F.A. from NYU and I was getting mine from Columbia. We went to a lot of parties back then and we’d sit and talk about our work and about short stories. When I had the idea for One Story, Hannah was the only person I asked to edit it. I knew that for the magazine to fly, the stories had to be nearly perfect and because of Hannah they have been. Of the 119 issues we’ve published, 45 have been acknowledged as among the year’s best. 

What’s incredible about working with Hannah is the passion she feels for each of our stories. I’ve gotten calls late at night when she’s found a fantastic one in the slush pile. At editorial meetings, she presents upcoming issues to the staff, telling what each one is about with so much excitement that she makes work feel like storytime. 

But it’s the work she does with writers that has made One Story the success it is. O. Henry Prize and Best American Short Story-winning author Paul Yoon, whose collection Once The Shore was published this year by Sarabande Books, wrote this to me about his experience working with Hannah:

“One of my fondest memories of Hannah is receiving the “few suggestions” she had for my story “Once the Shore” before it was published in One Story. It was my first experience with an editor and my jaw dropped. She had deconstructed the story, line by line, with clear and intelligent thoughts on why a certain word was not the best fit or why a sentence did not work or why a certain idea should be further explored. And she did all this while staying true to the story’s voice and vision. And so began the months and months of drafts and correspondences. She took that story by the hand and guided it, immersed herself into that fictional word with unparalleled devotion and passion. It was one of the most rewarding times in my life. I don’t get the chance to see Hannah often these days but when I do, one of the greatest pleasures for me is to listen to her wrestle with the intricacies of a story she is editing for One Story. Stories are always on her mind. There is no one more dedicated to that art. We are all aware of, and devoted to, the power of Hannah’s own fictions. What moves me especially about the PEN award is the long-awaited public recognition for her tremendous gifts as an editor. I couldn’t be more proud. She is a writer’s dream. Someone who will stay with you on that journey, with selflessness and conviction. And each day I feel blessed to have worked with her.”

The PEN/Magid will be presented on May 19th in New York City at the 2009 PEN Literary Awards. To find out more and read the press release, go here. In the meantime, I hope you’ll join me in congratulating Hannah on her editorial work over the past seven years for One Story.

29 thoughts on “Hannah Tinti Wins Pen/Magid Award!

  1. Congrats Hannah!! A much deserved Award! One Story has vastly intensified my love of the short story and Hannah’s hand amongst the One Story team is clearly apparent. Thanks so much for all your hard work and please continue to share your love of the Short Story with the world.

    Congrats! and Thank You!

  2. What a wonderful and well-deserved honor for Hannah and One Story! Many congratulations!

  3. Hannah is an incredible editor. She made my O. Henry Prize story “Uncle Musto…” what it is. She helped me bring out the nuances and details that were hidden, that I was too close to see. The narrative really began to shape and move in her expert hands. I think I have been spoiled forever in terms of editorial expectation. So richly deserved, and the results are there for everyone to see — One Story is incredibly well respected wherever I go.

  4. So obviously well deserved. It’s like LeBron getting the MVP. Because of her extraordinary talent and hard work, it was just matter of time. Plus, I once saw Hannah dunk on Dwayne Wade. True story.

  5. It was just such a wonderful experience working with Hannah. Many congratulations!

  6. Yay! Hannah has done more for the short story in general, and all of the more than *one hundred* stories that have appeared in One Story thus far, than I can imagine most editors doing in a lifetime. Her edits–which included an actual meeting and discussion–of my story (#9) were sharp, supportive, and dead-on. Since then, whenever I’m trying to sort flesh from bone, I ask myself, What would Hannah say…?

    The fact that she does all of this, for so many people, while continuing to practice her own tremendous magic with words is beyond inspiring.

  7. I completely agree with everything that has been said above. Hannah is a genius editor with an amazing eye, and working with her on my story “Azul” was an absolute pleasure. On top of that, I don’t know of another editor out there who does more for the writers she’s published than Hannah—who keeps track of their careers, helps them promote their books, invites them to read, etc. How she manages to do everything she does and still produce brilliant fiction herself is beyond me. This is much deserved honor, and a cause for celebration. Congratulations, Hannah!

  8. Hannah picked my short story, “Muscle Memory,” out of a submission pile, not so much for what it was, but because of the potential she saw in it. It was a lucky day for me, and it began many months of revising and reworking. Each time I thought I had something, and would send it to Hannah in a fit of hopefulness, she would write back with more suggestions. No editor has ever taken more care with my work or been more encouraging. The result is, I think, a better story than I could have done alone. In the process, I learned more about writing and editing than I thought I could learn. I now have a higher standard to meet for all my work–the same standard One Story meets with every issue. Thank you and congratulations.

  9. I have to second all that’s been said. It’s simply true: Hannah is the gold standard when it comes to editors. Or we should say the platinum standard. Or, to show my nerd stripes, the gold-pressed latinum standard. I was astounded by her care and dedication in editing my story “Eraser.” She has a way of making you feel like your story is the only story that exists–and demands that you meet up to such an expectation. It’s hard to imagine working with a better editor. I’ve saved every email from the process as each one taught me something.

    Congrats, Hannah–the honor is well-deserved.

  10. I also heartily concur with all that’s been said about Hannah’s editorial excellence. Working with Hannah was a truly illuminating experience; her diligence and generosity as an editor was nothing short of extraordinary. Together we went through draft after draft of my story, “What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us”—attending to everything from global edits to sentence-level issues. The time she put into my story, into helping the story become its very best self, was just incredible. I’m deeply grateful to have been given to the opportunity to work with Hannah. Congratulations to her and One Story for this wonderful, well-deserved award!

  11. Lovely write-up, Maribeth. I have seen Hannah edit a story, expertly, from across a room, without pausing or looking up, while ordering lunch on her cell phone. Three tofu paninis, one cheese burger, two large coffees and THAT STORY NEEDS ANOTHER SCENE WITH THE SISTER WHERE WE FIND OUT WHY SHE CAN’T LOVE, one Cobb Salad, Italian dressing… I have seen stories cower in front of her and come clean with all their flaws: un-implicated narrators, false beginnings, shoddy climaxes, flimsy arcs. She has the ability to see straight into a story’s heart, rip it out if she needs to, or gently show it how to more effectively beat. It’s been great fun to watch.

  12. This is so very well-deserved. The editing Hannah did on my story “Harriet Elliot” (#104) was nothing short of exquisite, and nothing I could possibly have done on my own. I can’t imagine now that I thought the piece was finished before our work together, or how she could see so clearly what it would take for it to be. And the edit went far beyond that story. There are many suggestions Hannah made, many approaches she took, that have become part of my own process now when writing and also when teaching. AND she was pleasant and kind throughout – which is no small thing. It is WONDERFUL to see an award like this go to someone who so, so deserves to win it. Congratulations, Hannah! And HOORAY!!

  13. Hannah and One Story have done so much for the world of short stories–creating this amazing magazine during a time when so many places stopped publishing short fiction, discovering new writers, and fostering a diverse and passionate literary community–she’s so incredibly deserving of this award! Congratulations to Maribeth also, and to everyone at One Story.

  14. And I would also like to add that Hannah is an exceptional (and exceptionally generous) mentor to those of us who work for her. We’ve learned so much about editing and writing and life in general from her.

  15. The memory of an elephant. The bat’s cool radar that guides flight around the invisible stalactites of authorial egos. The genius–like a spider–to crawl between sentences and discover where the webbing is thin, too thin. The diligence of the old style bank teller who, though there was a line, counted the money three times before sliding it under bars. The towering and mysterious generosity of the library pillar that keeps the roof from falling on the art that is a culture’s saving grace. How do you spell this? H-A-N-N-A-H!

  16. While it was an absolutely incredible boon to be published in One Story, the best part of the experience was obviously working with Hannah. She turned my story, “Flight Path” into what it had hoped to be. CONGRATULATIONS HANNAH!

  17. Yes, yes, yes, to all of the above. I was amazed to find myself sitting with Hannah for hours over my story, “What Is Alaska Like?” as she walked me through each question spot and then walked me through figuring out a solution. She asked me critical questions (questions I’ve learned to ask myself now), pushed me to perfect scenes, and was always true to the heart and vision of the piece. Hannah has a fierce and generous intelligence, and she brings this to everything she does. This is a hugely deserved award, and I’m proud to know ‘er.

  18. This award is so well-deserved. Hannah is that rarest of creatures: an enormously talented writer who is an equally enormously-talented editor. Her care, incisive mind and big heart are visible on every page — whether the work is hers, or that of a writer lucky enough to be working with her. Our connection began when she was my student — but even then, I also felt that she taught me. Congratulations to Hannah, Maribeth and One Story!

  19. I could not agree with all of you more. Hannah’s unparalleled gift for storytelling, her commitment to developing new writers, and above all her generosity of spirit make me so proud (and just a little bit awed) to be part of One Story. Congratulations, Hannah!

  20. There’s a reason why Hannah’s having such a blockbuster year. She’s mind-blowingly talented, both as a writer and an editor. What’s unexpected is her immense, unflagging generosity to other writers everywhere. I feel so honored to have worked with her.

  21. Great work Hannah!

    My experience mirrored exactly what everyone above has described: extraordinary attention to detail, patient shepherding through draft after draft, understanding each nuance of the story and exactly what was needed to make it work. Because of this care, One Story is a very special thing. I feel very lucky to have been a part of it.

    Congratulations again.

  22. Woot!

    Hannah sucks the air from my lungs.

    In a good way.

    A totally deserved honor.

    From another writer deeply indebted to Ms. T.,
    A

  23. Late to the party here, but I’ll second and third and fourth everything that’s been said about Hannah. Working with her was a dream — her sage, diligent edits took my story to another level. Moreover, after having worked with Hannah, I feel that my own self editing improved.

    One other thing I’ll point out: once you’re published in One Story you feel like you’re part of the One Story family. This is a truly unique experience. Getting published in One Story isn’t like getting published in other literary magazines.

  24. Way to go Hannah. Richly deserved. My experience, on my story “Balloon Night”, was a very good one. Through the editing process I figured out some essential truths I hadn’t seen before. Your help was invaluable.
    May One Story surpass it’s own remarkable success.

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