The Story Prize finalists: Delillo, Pearlman and Millhauser
The Story Prize, which awards a $20,000 prize to a collection of short fiction, announced its 2011 finalists Wednesday. The three books are by authors Don Delillo, Edith Pearlman and Stephen Millhauser.
"The Angel Esmeralda," Delillo's first-ever collection of short fiction, includes nine stories spanning three decades. In our review, David L. Ulin wrote, "in this collection, as in his novels, DeLillo challenges us to see a world defined by our projections, a world in which the only reality is the one we create. Or, as he asserts here: 'In our privatest mind ... there is only chaos and blur. We invented logic to beat back our creatural selves.'"
While Delillo is a well-awarded, widely known novelist, Edith Pearlman is more of a discovery. Ulin wrote: "I'll confess: I had never heard of Edith Pearlman before reading 'Binocular Vision: New & Selected Stories,' a collection of 34 pieces of her short fiction going back more than three decades or so. That's on me. At the same time, had I been familiar with Pearlman for all those years, I would have been deprived of the great joy of discovering her, the thrill of coming upon a writer with an eye, and a command of language, so acute."
Stephen Millhauser won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel "Martin Dressler" in 1997. His collection "We Others" selects previously collected stories -- like Delillo, going back three decades -- with the addition of seven new ones.
Judging the Story Prize will be National Book Award-winning novelist Sherman Alexie; Breon Miller, professor of Germanic studies and comparative literature, and director of the Lilly Library at Indiana University; and Louise Steinman, curator of the ALOUD reading series at the Los Angeles Public Library. I served as a judge for the 2009 Story Prize; that year, Daniyal Mueenudin's "In Other Rooms, Other Wonders" won the award.
Other prior winners of prize include Edwidge Danticat's "The Dew Breaker," Tobias Wolff's "Our Story Begins", and "Like You'd Understand, Anyway" by Jim Shepherd.
The two runners-up for the prize each receive $5,000. The Story Prize is scheduled to be awarded at a ceremony in New York on March 21.
[For the Record, 8:46 a.m., Jan 11: An earlier version of this post said that Stephen Millahuser won his Pulitzer Prize for his debut novel "Edwin Mullhouse" in 1977. He won it for "Martin Dressler" in 1997.]
-- Carolyn Kellogg