Friday, March 6, 2009

Tobias Wolff Wins Story Prize

Short story writer Tobias Wolff just won the $20,000 Story Prize for his 2008 short story collection Our Story Begins. The Story Prize is an annual book award for short story collections written in English and published in the U.S. during a given calendar year. The other two finalists were Jhumpa Lahiri’s Unaccustomed Earth (which I loved) and Joe Meno’s Demons in the Spring.

The judges (Daniel Menaker, Rick Simonson, and Hannah Tinti) had this to say about Our Story Begins:

The previously uncollected pieces by Wolff in this new collection show an increasingly severe insistence on the most telling and specific detail as the author creates entire worlds, entire life stories, out of eloquent molecules of narrative. The emotional impact of these lapidary stories is specific and powerful. ... It is this great sense of the human condition, combined with the close detailing of everyday life that makes Tobias Wolff such an exceptional writer. He deserves The Story Prize, not only for his early work showcased in Our Story Begins, that many of us have studied and read and learned from in the past, but for the ten new stories included, that show he is still at the top of his game.

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