The 2011 Story Prize Finalists

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Faulkner once said that every novelist is a failed short story writer, and every short story writer is a failed poet. I’ve paraphrased (Faulkner said it with more eloquence and more words), but his point is counter to the common wisdom.

Novels typically reside at the top of the publishing and literary hierarchy, while short story collections receive fewer awards, reviews, or sales (if they’re published at all). And, of course, no one reads poetry.

Enter The Story Prize.

Since 2004, The Story Prize has made it its mission to bestow acclaim (and substantial prize money) to collections overlooked by many other fiction awards. In today’s announcement on their blog, TSP’s director Larry Dark posted:

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. 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.

Without further ado, here are the 2011 nominees:

  • The Angel Esmeralda by Don Delillo
  • We Others by Steven Millhauser
  • Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman

The first place winner will receive $20,000 and the runners up will receive $5,000. The awards ceremony (and what looks to be a great reading) takes place on March 21 in New York City. Visit the TSP blog for tickets.

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— Benjamin Samuel is the Online Editor of Electric Literature and wouldn’t mind being a failed poet. You can find him on Twitter here.

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