The Story Prize Names 2021 Finalists

The Story Prize, an annual literary award honoring the year’s outstanding short fiction, has named the three finalists for this year’s award. The final winner will receive a $20,000 cash prize and an engraved silver bowl and each of the runners-up will receive $5,000.

The three short story collections nominated are Sharah Shun-lien Bynum’s Likes (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux), Danielle Evans’s The Office of Historical Corrections (Riverhead Books), and Deesha Philyaw’s The Secret Lives of Church Ladies (West Virgina University Press),

Bynum’s Likes offers nine stories that explore the full range and contradictions of contemporary life. In the six stories in Evans’s The Office of Historical Corrections, she writes about Black and multiracial characters dealing with lust, love, grief and the inescapable power of history. And in the nine stories that comprise The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, Philyaw explores the lives of Black women and girls examining their lives as they deal with the conflict between the church and their own passions.

The judges for the 17th annual Story Prize finalists and its eventual winner will be critic Ismail Muhammad; bookseller Margot Sage-EL of Watchung Books in Montclair New Jersey; and author Karen Shepard. The winner of the 2021 Story Prize will be announced on March 10, 2021. Once the winner has been announced The Story Prize will be post a video with readings by and interview with all three authors.

The Story Prize director Larry Dark said, “In a difficult year, these three books provided solace—not by offering escapist fantasies but by directly engaging with past and current realities through truly inventive and deeply engaging storytelling.”

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