If the finalists for the latest Story Prize are any indication, 2011 was a golden year for the short fiction form. Announced this morning, the authors up for the annual twenty-thousand-dollar award, given for a short story collection published in the previous year, are three of the country's most accomplished authors: Don DeLillo, Steven Millhauser, and Edith Pearlman.
"The idea that the short story is a beginner’s form, one that novice writers cut their teeth on before turning to the more ambitious work of writing novels, is a common misconception," reads a press release issued this morning by prize director Larry Dark. "This year’s finalists for the Story Prize show that—to the contrary—top fiction writers often remain devoted to the demanding form of the short story throughout their careers."
DeLillo, author of more than a dozen novels, is shortlisted for his first story collection, The Angel Esmeralda (Scribner), and Millhauser is nominated for We Others (Knopf), which includes works from four previous collections. Pearlman, who was honored last year for her contributions to the short story tradition with a PEN/Malamud Award, is shortlisted for Binocular Vision (Lookout Books), a finalist for last year's National Book Award. (An excerpt from Pearlman's book is here.)
The winner of the Story Prize, selected by judges Sherman Alexie, translator Breon Mitchell, and Louise Steinman of the Los Angeles Public Library, will be announced on March 21 at a ceremony at the New School University in New York City. The public is invited to attend the event, which features readings by and interviews with each of the finalists. For more information, visit the Story Prize website.
In the video below, Pearlman reads from her shortlisted collection at the National Book Award finalists' reading event.