The Story Prize is an annual book award honoring the author of an outstanding collection of short fiction. This year’s shortlist is comprised of Wednesday’s Child by Yiyun Li, Other Minds and Other Stories by Bennett Sims, and The Hive and the Honey by Paul Yoon.
The winner will be announced on March 26th, 2024.
Wednesday’s Child by Yiyun Li
A grieving mother makes a spreadsheet of everyone she’s lost. Elsewhere, a professor develops a troubled intimacy with her hairdresser. And every year, a restless woman receives an email from a strange man twice her age and several states away. In the stories of Wednesday’s Child, people strive for an ordinary existence until doing so becomes unsustainable, until the surface cracks and the grand mysterious forces—death, violence, estrangement—come to light. Even before such moments, everyday life is laden with meaning, studded with indelible details: a filched jar of honey, a mound of wounded ants, a photograph kept hidden for many years, until it must be seen.
Other Minds and Other Stories by Bennett Sims
A man lends his phone to a stranger in the mall, setting off an uncanny series of Unknown calls that come to haunt his relationship with jealousy and dread. A well-meaning locavore tries to butcher his backyard chickens humanely, only to find himself absorbed into the absurd violence of the pecking order. A student applying for a philosophy fellowship struggles to project himself into the thoughts of his hypothetical judges, becoming increasingly possessed and overpowered by the problem of other minds. And in “The Postcard,” a private detective is hired to investigate a posthumous message that a widower has seemingly received from his dead wife, leading him into a foggy landscape of lost memories, shifting identities, and strange doublings.
The Hive and the Honey by Paul Yoon
A boy searches for his father, a prison guard on Sakhalin Island. In Barcelona, a woman is tasked with spying on a prizefighter who may or may not be her estranged son. A samurai escorts an orphan to his countrymen in the Edo Period. A formerly incarcerated man starts a new life in a small town in upstate New York and attempts to build a family.
The Hive and the Honey is a bold and indelible collection by celebrated author Paul Yoon, one that portrays the vastness and complexity of diasporic communities, with each story bringing to light the knotty inheritances of their characters. How does a North Korean defector connect with the child she once left behind? What are the traumas that haunt a Korean settlement in Far East Russia?