Keep It Short: A New Contest Rewards Innovative Writers


These days, it seems that new fiction writers regard the short story as a sort of creative cul-de-sac, a form where any attempts at innovation are not so much a reinvention of the wheel as simple spinning. The Story Prize hopes to change some minds with its inaugural outing, drawing attention to the potential of short fiction and rewarding achievements therein. Established last year by Larry Dark (a longtime editor of the O. Henry Awards story collections) and featuring an advisory board of the usual suspects—reps from The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and McSweeney’s and um, Sam Shepard—the prize honors the best short-story collection from the past year. The judging panel—author Dan Chaon (Fitting Ends, You Remind Me of Me), bookseller Anne Christophersen, and Paris Review editor Brigid Hughes—will select the winner from a batch of three finalists chosen by Dark and advisory-board member Julie Lindsay. One story each will be read from Edwidge Danticat’s The Dew Breaker, Cathy Day’s The Circus in Winter, and Joan Silber’s Ideas of Heaven—celeb readers Kate Burton, Jane Curtin, and Sonia Manzano will assume oratorical duties, though the authors will be on hand—before the winner is announced.

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