What does it take to get into "Best American Short Stories"? We'll ask Tom Perrotta, the guest editor of this year's collection, when we talk to him at 10 a.m. PDT Tuesday. Save this link; the video will appear here.
Perrotta, whose most recent novel is "The Leftovers," is the author of "Election," "Little Children" and "The Abstinence Teacher." His books often take slices of suburban American life and give them a unique, even hysterical, spin: affairs, sex education, a hyper-ambitious student council presidential candidate. His screenplay adaptation of "Little Children" earned him an Academy Award nomination.
There are stories by Alice Munro, Jess Walter, George Saunders, Steven Millhauser, Eric Puchner, Roxanne Gay, Nathan Englander and 13 others in "Best American Short Stories 2012."
In his introduction to "Best American Short Stories 2012," Perrotta writes, "I like stories written in plain, artful language about ordinary people. I'm wary of narrative experiments and excessive stylistic virtuosity; suspicious of writing that feels exclusive or elitist, targeted to readers with graduate degrees rather than the general public, whatever that means." Writers he'd put in this canon include Willa Cather, Ernest Hemingway, Dashiell Hammett, Mark Twain and Ralph Waldo Emerson.
In addition to those 20, there are 100 "Other Distinguished Stories" listed in the back of the book. The 120-story longlist of 120 was whittled down from the many, many stories submitted to series editor Heidi Piltor.
In addition to last year's best short stories, we hope to ask Perrotta bout his novels, movies, and what's next.