Dzanc Books is extremely pleased to announce that Laura van den Berg's short story collection, What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us (Dzanc Books, 2009), has been selected as a finalist for the Frank O'Connor Short Fiction Award.
Announced earlier today, Laura's book is one of six collections that the committee has winnowed down from the original semi-finalist long list of 58 titles. The Frank O'Connor Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the world as it is open internationally and receives submissions from publishers all over the world, is awarded to the best, original collection of stories published in English in the 12 preceding months. This year's finalists range from debut authors on up to TC Boyle, who has published 20 works of fiction, including 9 short story collections.
Dzanc Books is thrilled to have Laura's work among the finalists. Since Laura first won the Dzanc Prize in 2008, proving not only her skills as a writer but dedication to social service, her collection has gone on to receive a starred Booklist review, as well as be selected also as a Barnes & Noble Discover Great Writers and a Foreword Magazine Book of the Year Finalist. Stories from the collection have also been reprinted in Best American Nonrequired Reading2008, Best New American Voices 2010, and The Pushcart Prize XXIV: Best of the Small Presses.
Laura is a well deserving finalist and we here at Dzanc Books could not be prouder to have published What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us.
The Kansas City Star did a year end review of books in yesterday's paper and Dzanc Books, and our imprints Other Voices Books and Black Lawrence Press were well represented.
The method utilized was having ten reviewers tackle one type of book apiece and list their own top ten titles for the year, including selecting a favorite of the ten.
In the short story category, Linda Rodriguez selected the following titles (with her brief descriptions):
"SHORT FICTION | selected by Linda Rodriguez
Holding Pattern, by Jeffery Renard Allen. Magical stories buzz with the dark energies of Chicago street life.
Things That Pass for Love, by Allison Amend. Sharp-edged tales of urban and suburban lovers.
My Daughter’s Eyes,
by Annecy Baez. Enticing look at the Dominican immigrant experience
through the eyes of a set of linked young female characters.
Unending Rooms, by Daniel Chacón. Down and dirty Chicano stories combine with Borges-like meta-fiction.
Night Train, by Lise Erdrich. This collection is the first by Erdrich, younger sister of novelist Louise Erdrich.
* Based on a True Story,
by Hesh Kestin. These three superb novellas by a former foreign
correspondent are some of the best short fiction this reviewer has seen
The Theory of Light and Matter, by Andrew Porter. Suburban tales of the role of memory and the struggle for understanding.
Invite, by Glen Pourciau. The author channels some of the quirkiest yet most believable characters of our time.
Legend of a Suicide, by David Vann. Stories set in or near the wilds of Alaska reimagine a father’s suicide in a multitude of ways.
Our Story Begins, by Tobias Wolff. Overview of his life’s work never disappoints with stories that are word-perfect little gems."
Those under the highlight are such due to the fact that they were published by Other Voices Books, Black Lawrence Press and Dzanc Books respectively. That's right, 30% of the best short fiction collections this year were published under the Dzanc Books' banner. And that * before Hesh Kestin's title? That indicates that of all the short fiction collections that Rodriguez read this year, this was her favorite.
And in Editor John Mark Eberhart's column about the Notable Books of the Year, he noted:
"My hat is off to Books of the Year panelist Linda Rodriguez.
She selected Hesh Kestin’s Based on a True Story as
her top short-fiction collection of 2008. Linda’s assignment this year
was to choose 10 short-story titles, then pick one favorite out of the
group. And Based on a True Story is a collection of three novellas.
novella is an underrepresented form in modern American literature, and
that’s a shame. So the fact that Rodriguez found value in Kestin’s book
All Over by Roy Kesey, our first title, has been named a finalist in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year short story collection category. It's been named with some other fine titles and I'm fairly certain that as Roy approaches Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet he plans on stating that while he hopes he wins, it's just an honor to be nominated.
A question we've been asked by a few individuals has been about eligibility for the Dzanc Prize - if the work in progress is a work of poetry, or non-fiction.
We want to be as up front as possible here - as Dzanc Books is a publisher of literary fiction, we believe that we are going to be pre-disposed towards literary fiction when it comes time for us to decide who to give the award to. Based on that, we've decided to make this an award for those who are working on literary fiction for their work in progress, and literary fiction only.
Dzanc Books announces the inaugural Dzanc Prize – a monetary award to a writer with both a work in progress, and an interest in performing some form of literary community service.
The award itself will be a total of $5,000 to be distributed in two payments over the course of a twelve month period. The purpose of this prize is to give monetary aid to a writer of literary promise, in order to provide a budgetary cushion for them, allowing the author to concentrate his/her efforts on the completion of their work in progress.
Eligibility: Any author with a Work in Progress, and a project in mind that can be deemed Literary Community Service.
Timing: The Inaugural Dzanc Prize will be issued for the 2008 calendar year. We will accept submissions from authors from now through November 1, 2007. The announcement of the winning author will be made during the month of December 2007. The announcement will be made via email to the author, here on the website, as well as sent to trade journals (P&W, Publisher’s Weekly, etc.).
Submissions: Authors please send your current cv, a description of your Work in Progress, along with a ten page excerpt, and your planned Literary Community Service. These should be sent as MS Word Attachments in an email to email@example.com.
Dzanc Books will be selecting the author who will receive this $5,000 Prize based on a combination of the Work in Progress, and the intended Literary Community Service. It would probably benefit authors who are submitting to become familiar with Dzanc Books and the types of authors we will be publishing, as well as the Educational Programs Dzanc Books sets up and runs.
Some examples of Literary Community Service:
- Running a series of writing workshops in a school - Volunteering to do a storytime session or series at your local library - Volunteering to work at a local book festival (if the festival is run as a non-profit)
The winner of the Dzanc Prize will receive a check for $2500 in the month of January 2008. The remaining $2500 will be paid once the Literary Community Service has been completed.
Dzanc Books will make no claims towards the winner and their Work in Progress. If at the time the author has completed the work, they wish to submit it to Dzanc Books, we will be delighted to have a look. Their manuscript will go through the same reading process every other submission goes through.
The submissions for the Dzanc Prize will be reviewed by, and the prize will be awarded by a panel of Steve Gillis, Dan Wickett and Keith Taylor. All writers, including friends and associates of the panel, are eligible for the prize. The integrity and objectivity of Dzanc Books will not be compromised and, given our vast connections to so many great writers, exclusion of any kind would be impossible.