A globe-trotting collection of stories by a native Italian writing in English, an award-winning author's first story collection in 20 years, and a best—selling book by a writer known for her mordant wit are the finalists for the richest top prize of any annual U.S. book award for fiction. — Plus, an author's second collection garners The Story Prize Spotlight Award.

The Story Prize, an annual award for books of short fiction, celebrating its tenth anniversary, is pleased to honor three outstanding short story collections chosen from among a record number of entries: 129 books published by 85 different publishers or imprints in 2014. The three finalists are:

  • The Other Language by Francesca Marciano (Pantheon)
  • Thunderstruck by Elizabeth McCracken (The Dial Press)
  • Bark by Lorrie Moore (Alfred A. Knopf)
The Other Language By Francesca Marciano
Thunderstruck by Elizabeth McCracken
Bark by Lorrie Moore

For more on The Story Prize you can read the official blog, follow us on Twitter, or visit our Facebook page. You can buy tickets to the March 4 event from The New School box office online or by calling 212-229-5488.

The Other Language by Francesca Marciano collects nine stories about women and men in or just beyond the cusp of major life changes, in locales as diverse as Greece, Rome, Venice, Kenya, India, and New York. The nine stories in Elizabeth McCracken's Thunderstruck delve into dark subjects but retain a sense of humor while delivering on their inventive premises. Lorrie Moore's collection, Bark, consists of eight stories set mostly in Middle America, about people in or approaching midlife and facing the tension between speaking their minds and protecting their emotions by forming a hard, shell around themselves.

Founder Julie Lindsey and Director Larry Dark selected the finalists for The Story Prize. This year's judges — Boulder (Colo.) bookseller Arsen Kashkashian, Director of The Center for Fiction Noreen Tomassi, and author Laura van den Berg.

The Story Prize's annual event will take place at The New School's Auditorium at 66 West 12th Street in New York City at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 4. That night, the three finalists will read selections from their work, after which Director Larry Dark will interview each writer on-stage. At the end of the event, Founder Julie Lindsey will announce the winner and present that author with $20,000 and an engraved silver bowl. The two runners-up will each receive $5,000. Tickets to the March 4 event are available from The New School box office, online or by calling 212-229-5488.

About the finalists

Francesca Marciano
Photo by Laura Sciacovelli
Elizabeth McCracken
Photo By Edward Carey
Lorrie Moore
Photo by Zane Williams

Francesca Marciano is the author of the short story collection The Other Language and the novels Rules of the Wild, Casa Rossa, and The End of Manners—all written in English. She has also has written and collaborated on several screenplays in her native Italian. She lives in Rome.

Elizabeth McCracken is the author of Thunderstruck, An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination, The Giant's House, Here's Your Hat What's Your Hurry, and Niagara Falls All Over Again. A former public librarian, she is now a faculty member at the University of Texas, Austin, and has received grants and awards from numerous organizations, including the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and the American Academy in Berlin.

Lorrie Moore, after many years as a professor of creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is now Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. Among the honors Moore has received for her work are the Irish Times International Prize for Literature, a Lannan Foundation fellowship, as well as the PEN/Malamud Award and the Rea Award for her achievement in the short story. Her most recent novel, A Gate at the Stairs, was shortlisted for the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction and for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Bark is her fourth short story collection.

About The Story Prize Spotlight Award winner

Kyle Minor
Praying Drunk by Kyle Minor

In addition to this year's finalists, we're pleased to present the third ever winner of The Story Prize Spotlight Award, a $1,000 prize for a short story collection worthy of additional attention: Praying Drunk by Kyle Minor (Sarabande Books). The Director and Founder of The Story Prize, Larry Dark and Julie Lindsey, select the winner of this award at their discretion from among the regular pool of entries for The Story Prize.

About the Story Prize

The Story Prize was established in 2004 as a book award to honor short story collections. The ten previous winners of The Story Prize have been The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat; The Hill Road by Patrick O'Keeffe; The Stories of Mary Gordon; Like You'd Understand, Anyway by Jim Shepard; Our Story Begins by Tobias Wolff; In Other Rooms, Other Wonders by Daniel Mueenuddin; Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr; We Others by Steven Millhauser; Battleborn by Claire Vaye Watkins; and, most recently, Tenth of December by George Sanders.

Announcing The Story Prize Judges

The Story Prize, now in its 11th year, is pleased to announce its judges for 2014: Arsen Kashkashian, bookseller at the Boulder Book Store in Colorado; Noreen Tomassi, Executive Director of The Center for Fiction in New York; and award-winning author Laura van den Berg.They will choose the winner of The Story Prize from among the three books Director Larry Dark and Founder Julie Lindsey choose as finalists. Since its inception, The Story Prize has included judges from a variety of fields associated with short fiction. Past participants have included writers, editors, booksellers, librarians, critics, journalists, and academics.

Arsen KashKashian
Arsen Kashkashian
Noreen Tomassi
Noreen Tomassi
Laura van den Berg
Laura van den Berg

About the Judges

Arsen Kashkashian is the book buyer and general manager of the Boulder Book Store in Boulder, Colorado. Kashkashian began his tenure at the store in 1992 as a clerk. After holding several jobs in the store,he started buying in 1997. He estimates he's seen close to a million titles come across his desk during that time. Kashkashian served a two-year term as the president of the Independent Booksellers Consortium. He received the 2006 Gordon Saull Award for outstanding bookseller from the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association. He authored the industry blog Kash's Book Corner from 2006 to 2010, and has contributed book reviews to the Daily Camera and the Boulder Weekly newspapers.

As Director of The Center for Fiction since December 2004, Noreen Tomassi has led its transition from the Mercantile Library, a private membership library, to a new incarnation as a literary center focused on the art of fiction. In this capacity, she presents nearly 100 writers a year and has established The Center's First Novel Prize; Maxwell Perkins Award, NYC Emerging Writers Fellowship Program; and its Books for NYC Schools/Kids Read program, which provides over 30,000 books to 40 NYC public schools. Before beginning her arts management career as an assistant in Play Development at McCarter Theatre, she acted in a series of off Broadway plays and wrote about the arts for various publications.

Laura van den Berg is the author of the story collections What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us, which was a Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" selection, and The Isle of Youth, which won the Rosenthal Family Foundation Award from the American Academy of Arts& Letters and made more than a dozen "Best Book of 2013 lists, including those of NPR, The Boston Globe, and O, The Oprah Magazine. Both collections were shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. The recipient of an O. Henry Award and a Pushcart Prize, her work has been anthologized in The Best American Short StoriesThe Best American Mystery Stories,and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. Her first novel, Find Me, will be published in February 2015.

Previous Winners of The Story Prize


Tenth of December

By George Saunders

Buy this book



By Claire Vaye Watkins

Buy this book


We Others: New & Selected Stories

By Steven Millhauser

Buy this book


Memory Wall

By Anthony Doerr

Buy this book


In Other Rooms, Other Wonders

By Daniyal Mueenuddin

Buy this book


Our Story Begins

By Tobias Wolff

Buy this book


Like You'd Understand, Anyway

By Jim Shepard

Buy this book


The Stories of Mary Gordon

By Mary Gordon

Buy this book


The Hill Road

By Patrick O'Keeffe

Buy this book


The Dew Breaker

By Edwidge Danticat

Buy this book

Follow us

TSP - The official blog of The Story Prize

Twitter -

The Story Prize Facebook News Page