The second annual Story Prize ceremony, held at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium in late January, began like most literary events in New York City—with much chattering among publishing folk, rising in volume until the lights went down and a hush descended on the room. The evening’s format was simple. The three finalists, fiction writers Jim Harrison, Maureen F. McHugh, and Patrick O’Keefe, would each read from their books and then sit for a short discussion with Larry Dark. In 2004 Dark, the former O. Henry Prize Stories series editor, launched the prize with Julie Lindsey in an effort to promote a genre they believed was underrepresented by other literary awards. The winner of the first annual prize was Edwidge Danticat for The Dew Breaker (Knopf, 2004).
Whether it’s a thousand-page novel, a single-paragraph story, or a footnoted essay, the elusive author always offers a complicated—and sometimes maddening—reading experience. But is there more to David Foster Wallace than words on a page?
Laura Furman, the first female O. Henry series editor in more than forty years, has instituted some changes to the process of selecting stories for her first volume, due out next month from Anchor.
The short story collection Dreams of a Robot Dancing Bee, to be published later this month by Verse Press-the nonprofit literary publisher that also publishes the triannual literary poetry journal Verse-represents a significant shift in focus for poet James Tate. The author of numerous books of poetry, including Worshipful Company of Fletchers (Ecco Press), which won a National Book Award in 1997, and his Pulitzer Prize-winning Selected Poems (1991), Tate has tackled a new genre, as well as a new way of thinking about writing.
The author of the story collections CivilWarLand in Bad Decline and Pastoralia talks about working in a slaughterhouse, Monty Python as validation, earnestness as the enemy, and his uncanny ability to find humor in unlikely places.