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.