Dominican American writer Junot Diaz is on the shortlist for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank short story award. The British prize is said to be the world's largest for a single short story: The winner will receive more than $45,000.
It's Diaz's story "Miss Lora" that made the list. The story is in his 2012 collection "This Is How You Lose Her."
There are five other authors in contention for the prize: Sarah Hall, Toby Litt, Ali Smith, Mark Haddon, and Cynan Jones. Smith is Scottish, Jones was born in Wales and the others are English.
The national origins of the finalists are of note because the lucrative British prize has yet to be bestowed upon a Briton. In its first year, 2010, it went to CK Stead from New Zealand. He was followed by American writer Anthony Doerr in 2011 and Ireland's Kevin Barry in 2012.
"The short story used to be the orphan of prose fiction — a bit unloved, a bit uncelebrated," novelist Andrew O'Hagan, one of the judges, told the Guardian. "But this year's entries for the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank short story award demonstrate just how the form has grown up to be something spectacular and super-confident."
The New York Times recently made a similar case — that now is a good time for short stories, thanks to the Internet and small screens. Not all publishing watchers agreed, such as Laura Miller, who made the counter-argument "Sorry, the short story boom is bogus."
Whether it's boom or bust for short stories in general, one writer will receive a nice windfall on March 22. That's when the winner of the Sunday Times EFG Private Bank short story award will be announced, at a private gala dinner at the Sunday Times Oxford Literary Festival.
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