shining the spotlight on short story collections
Where to begin? What a week! The biggest short story news surely must be today’s announcement that Canadian writer Alice Munro has won this year’s Man Booker Prize. An award-winning short story writer, a recent article in the Canadian National Post newspaper reports that Munro pokes fun at the attitude to short stories in a new story of hers, Fiction, in which the main character discovers she is a character in a book.
“When she finds out it’s not a novel, it’s a collection of short stories, she’s horrified,” says her editor, Doug Gibson. In the story, Munro writes, “It was as if the author was hanging on the gates of literature rather than fully admitted inside because she was only writing short stories.”
The Man Booker judges, Jane Smiley, writer; Amit Chaudhuri, writer, academic and musician; and writer, film script writer and essayist, Andrey Kurkov, said:
‘Alice Munro is mostly known as a short story writer and yet she brings as much depth, wisdom and precision to every story as most novelists bring to a lifetime of novels. To read Alice Munro is to learn something every time that you never thought of before.’
While those of us who understand very well the power of the short story would take issue with the “and yet” – we should hold our tongues and just celebrate this wonderful news that a stunning and inspirational writer has been recognised! Alice Munro’s new collection, Too Much Happiness, will be published in October. Can’t wait. Visit Alice Munro’s Wikipedia page for more information.
Second, the Wales Book of the Year award English-language shortlist is announced, and it is novel-free: two short story collections and a collection of poetry, and all by female authors. Deborah Kay Davies’ debut short story collection, Grace, Tamar and Laszlo the Beautiful, a short story collection from award-winning novelist Gee Williams, Blood Etc, and Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch’s second collection of poetry, Not in These Shoes. Congratulations to all. The winner will be announced on June 15th.
Back to Canada, Pasha Malla has won the Danuta Gleed Literary Prize for his collection, The Withdrawal Method. Says the National Post:
The $10,000 prize – named in memory of the writer Danuta Gleed, and administered by the Writers’ Union of Canada – toasts the nation’s best English-language debut short fiction collection.