Now in its sixth year, The Story Prize, an annual award for books of short fiction, is pleased to honor three outstanding short story collections chosen from an exceptional group published in 2009. The three finalists—all debut collections—are:
- In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin (W.W.Norton)
- Drift by Victoria Patterson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
- Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
These three books were selected from among 78 story collections from 53 different publishers or imprints. Mueenuddin’s In Other Rooms, Other Wonders, which was also a finalist for the National Book Awards, immerses readers in the colorful world of a vast estate in feudal Pakistan. Patterson’s Drift presents connected stories about women and men struggling to find their place in wealthy Newport Beach, California. And eccentric characters in problematic relationships populate Tower’s Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, which was also a finalist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award.
The Story Prize’s annual event will take place at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium in New York City at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 3, 2010. The winner receives $20,000 and each runner-up will receive $5,000.
About the Books and Authors
In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniyal Mueenuddin (W. W. Norton)—These eight connected stories set in southern Pakistan bring to life the world of an aging feudal landlord, his Western educated daughters, desperate and conniving servants, farm workers, corrupt judges, politicians, aristocrats, and foreigners. Throughout, the writing is elegant and self-assured, and deeply insightful without being judgmental.
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Daniyal Mueenuddin was brought up in Lahore, Pakistan, and Elroy, Wisconsin. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Yale Law School. His stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Zoetrope, and The Best American Short Stories 2008 selected by Salman Rushdie, and will appear in PEN/O.Henry Prize Stories 2010. For a number of years he practiced law in New York. He lives in London and on a farm in Pakistan’s southern Punjab.
Drift by Victoria Patterson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)—The wealthy enclave of Newport Beach, California, is the setting for thirteen stories, told with grace and compassion, that focus on characters who live on the margins, including waiters, waitresses, confused children of divorce, and a beautiful, brain-damaged skateboarder.
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Victoria Patterson grew up in Newport Beach and received her MFA from UC Riverside. Her short fiction has appeared in the Santa Monica Review, Florida Review, and Snake-Nation Review, among other publications. She lives with her family in South Pasadena, California.
Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux)—Ambivalence, wrong-thinking, and confusion are the engines that drive these nine insightful, witty stories that culminate in a tale about marauding Vikings who turn out to be just like the misguided, contemporary American characters in the book.
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Wells Tower’s short stories and journalism have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, McSweeney’s, The Paris Review, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, The Washington Post Magazine, and elsewhere. He received two Pushcart Prizes and the Plimpton Prize from The Paris Review. He divides his time between Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and Brooklyn, New York.
About The Story Prize
Founder Julie Lindsey and Director Larry Dark selected the finalists for The Story Prize. Three independent judges will determine the winner. This year’s judges are writer A.M. Homes, journalist/blogger Carolyn Kellogg, and librarian Bill Kelly.
The Story Prize’s annual event will take place at the New School’s Tishman Auditorium in New York City at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 3. That night, the three finalists will read selections from their work, after which Director Larry Dark will interview each writer on-stage. At the end of the event, Founder Julie Lindsey will announce the winner and present that author with $20,000 and an engraved silver bowl. The two runners-up will each receive $5,000. Previous winners of The Story Prize are The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat (2005), The Hill Road by Patrick O’Keeffe (2006), The Stories of Mary Gordon by Mary Gordon (2007), Like You’d Understand, Anyway by Jim Shepard (2008), and Our Story Begins by Tobias Wolff (2009).
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