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Anthony Doerr awarded the 2010 Story Prize

March 2, 2011 |  7:39 pm

Memorywallstories_doerr The 2010 Story Prize was given to Anthony Doerr for his collection "Memory Wall" at a ceremony Wednesday evening in New York. The honor comes with an award of $20,000.

In our pages, David L. Ulin reviewed "Memory Wall":

For Doerr — author of three previous books and one of 21 writers selected by Granta in 2007 as "Best Young American Novelists" — the idea of memory as the filament from which we weave identity is not a new one; it infuses his 2004 novel "About Grace," in which the present becomes, for a time, an escape from both past and future, and their furious sense of consequence.

Doerr's new book, however, is less concerned with the importance of memory in bestowing meaning than in the impermanence of the meaning it bestows. For Doerr's characters, reality is ultimately little more than a projection, or a collection of projections, out of which they create the illusory textures of their lives.

In that sense, "Memory Wall" is less a loose collection than a suite of six related stories, connected not by character but by theme. Memory — whether cultural or biological or personal — is a driving force throughout the book.

Two finalists -- Yiyun Li for her collection "Gold Boy Emerald Girl" and Suzanne Rivecca for "Death Is Not an Option" -- will each receive $5,000.

The Story Prize was founded in 2004 to bring attention to collections of short fiction. Last year, I served as one of the judges that selected Daniyal Mueenuddin's "In Other Rooms, Other Wonders" for the prize. Revious winners include Edwidge Danticat, Jim Shepard and Tobias Wolff.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

[For the record, 2:54 p.m.: In a previous version of this post the Story Prize cash award was incorrectly reported as $15,000.]

 

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