The Story Prize is an annual book award honoring the author of an outstanding collection of short fiction. Eligible books must be written in English and first published in the United States during a calendar year.
Larry Dark, director of The Story Prize, and Advisory Board member Julie Lindsey selected three finalists from among the books entered. Three independent judges will choose the winner from among the finalists. The 2018 winner will be announced in March of 2109.
A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley
In the nine expansive, searching stories of A Lucky Man, fathers and sons attempt to salvage relationships with friends and family members and confront mistakes made in the past. An imaginative young boy from the Bronx goes swimming with his group from day camp at a backyard pool in the suburbs, and faces the effects of power and privilege in ways he can barely grasp. A teen intent on proving himself a man through the all-night revel of J’Ouvert can’t help but look out for his impressionable younger brother. A pair of college boys on the prowl follow two girls home from a party and have to own the uncomfortable truth of their desires. And at a capoeira conference, two brothers grapple with how to tell the story of their family, caught in the dance of their painful, fractured history.
Jamel Brinkley’s stories, in a debut that announces the arrival of a significant new voice, reflect the tenderness and vulnerability of black men and boys whose hopes sometimes betray them, especially in a world shaped by race, gender, and class—where luck may be the greatest fiction of all.
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Your Duck Is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg
At times raucously hilarious, at times charming and delightful, at times as solemn and mysterious as a pond at midnight, Deborah Eisenberg’s stories gently compel us to confront the most disturbing truths about ourselves—from our intimate lives as lovers, parents, and children, to our equally troubling roles as citizens on a violent, terrifying planet.
Each of the six stories in Your Duck is My Duck, her first collection since 2006, has the heft and complexity of a novel. With her own inexorable but utterly unpredictable logic and her almost uncanny ability to conjure the strange states of mind and emotion that constitute our daily consciousness, Eisenberg pulls us as if by gossamer threads through her characters—a tormented woman whose face determines her destiny; a group of film actors shocked to read a book about their past; a privileged young man who unexpectedly falls into a love affair with a human rights worker caught up in an all-consuming quest that he doesn’t understand.
In Eisenberg’s world, the forces of money, sex, and power cannot be escaped, and the force of history, whether confronted or denied, cannot be evaded. No one writes better about time, tragedy and grief, and the indifferent but beautiful universe around us.
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Florida by Lauren Groff
In her vigorous and moving new book, Lauren Groff brings her electric storytelling and intelligence to a world in which storms, snakes, and sinkholes lurk at the edge of everyday life, but the greater threats and mysteries are of a human, emotional, and psychological nature. Among those navigating it all are a resourceful pair of abandoned sisters; a lonely boy, grown up; a restless, childless couple, a searching, homeless woman; and an unforgettable, recurring character — a steely and conflicted wife and mother.
The stories in this collection span characters, towns, decades, even centuries, but Florida — its landscape, climate, history, and state of mind — becomes its gravitational center: an energy, a mood, as much as a place of residence. Groff transports the reader, then jolts us alert with a crackle of wit, a wave of sadness, a flash of cruelty, as she writes about loneliness, rage, family, and the passage of time. With shocking accuracy and effect, she pinpoints the moments and decisions and connections behind human pleasure and pain, hope and despair, love and fury — the moments that make us alive. Startling, precise, and affecting, Florida is a magnificent achievement.
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