The three books vying for the $20,000 top prize are: a thematic collection of stories with recurring characters and settings; a book that features bold and imaginative stories set in the past, present, and future (and which has already won a National Book Award); and a ruminative collection anchored by a novella with a distinctive take on the murder mystery.

The Story Prize, now in its 12th year, is pleased to honor as its finalists three outstanding short story collections chosen from 100 submissions representing 64 different publishers or imprints. They are:

  • There's Something I Want You to Do by Charles Baxter (Pantheon)
  • Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson (Random House)
  • Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann (Random House)
There's Something I Want You To Do by Charles Baxter
Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson
Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann

There's Something I Want You to Do by Charles Baxter collects 10 stories, each with a one-word title representing a virtue or a vice. The title phrase resonates throughout, as several recurring characters find themselves in situations that compel them to make this request. The six stories in Adam Johnson's Fortune Smiles, take place in territory as diverse as California, Louisiana, what was formerly East Germany, and North Korea, infusing difficult situations with sadness and humor. Colum McCann's collection, Thirteen Ways of Looking, consists of a powerful novella and three equally absorbing stories that explore how we process violence and loss.

The winner will be announced at The Story Prize's annual award event at the New School's Auditorium at 66 West 12th Street in New York City at 7:30 p.m. on Wed., March 2. That night, finalists Baxter, Johnson, and McCann will read from and discuss their work with Dark. After which, the founder of the prize, 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 are available from The New School.

About the Authors

Charles Baxter
Adam Johnson
Photo By Samson Yee
Colum McCann

Charles Baxter is a winner of the Rea Award for the Short Story. There's Something I Want You to Do, features two stories that were selected for volumes of Best American Short Stories. His five previous collections are Gryphon, Believers, A Relative Stranger, Through the Safety Net, and Harmony of the World. He has also published the novels The Feast of Love (a finalist for the National Book Award), The Soul Thief, Saul and Patsy, Shadow Play, and First Light. He lives in Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota and in the M.F.A. Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College.

Adam Johnson is the author of the story collection Fortune Smiles, winner of the National Book Award for Fiction, and The Orphan Master's Son, winner of the Pulitzer Prize in fiction, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and the California Book Award, and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Johnson's other awards include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Whiting Writers' Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and a Stegner Fellowship. His previous books are Emporium, a short story collection, and the novel Parasites Like Us. Johnson teaches creative writing at Stanford University and lives in San Francisco with his wife and children.

Colum McCann is the author of Thirteen Ways of Looking and two other short story collections, Fishing the Sloe-Black River and Everything in This Country Must, as well as the novels TransAtlantic, Let the Great World Spin, Zoli, Dancer, This Side of Brightness, and Songdogs. His literary honors include the National Book Award, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres award from the French government, and the Ireland Fund of Monaco Literary Award in Memory of Princess Grace. A contributor to The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and The Paris Review, he teaches in the Hunter College MFA Creative Writing program. He lives in New York City with his wife and their three children.

About the Judges

Lindsey and Dark selected the finalists for The Story Prize. Three independent judges will determine the winner:

Anthony Doerr, the author of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel All the Light We Cannot See, as well as two story collections Memory Wall (2010 winner of The Story Prize) and The Shell Collector, the novel About Grace, and the memoir Four Seasons in Rome. He lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.

Rita Meade is a public library manager who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She is a Contributing Editor and Dear Book Nerd podcast host for Book Riot, reviews children's books for School Library Journal, and is the author of a forthcoming picture book Edward Gets Messy.

Kathryn Schulz is a staff writer at The New Yorker. She is the former book critic for New York Magazine and the author of Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. She was the 2012 recipient of the National Book Critic Circle's Nona Balakian Prize and a 2004 recipient of the Pew Fellowship in International Journalism.

For Further Information

For more on The Story Prize please the official blog, TSP, at, follow us on Twitter or Instagram at @thestoryprize, or visit our Facebook page.

NOTE: The announcement of The Story Prize Spotlight Award winner and a long-list of notable 2015 story collections on the TSP blog will follow in the weeks ahead.