Elizabeth McCracken wins the Story Prize

Elizabeth McCracken is the recipient of the $20,000 Story Prize for her collection “Thunderstruck.” McCracken was awarded the short-fiction prize Wednesday night at a ceremony in New York.

Of McCracken’s work, the judges wrote: “She is the master of the small and perfectly telling detail — the mother’s light tap of a hand on her child’s coffin, a suitcase fallen over like ‘a shot dog,’ ‘a pair of red and white espadrilles that had run in the rain.’ She writes with such an open and compassionate heart that even the most damaged and lost of her characters thrum with life.”

All three finalists for the Story Prize were present for the event and read from their books before the awards presentation. The other finalists – Francesca Marciano for “The Other Language” and Lorrie Moore for “Bark” will each get $5,000.


The three books emerged from a field of a record 129 submissions published in 2014.

The Story Prize was founded to celebrate short fiction and bring attention to short stories with a significant financial award. Previous winners include Edwidge Danticat, Jim Shepard, Tobias Wolff, Anthony Doerr, Claire Vaye Watkins and George Saunders. The year I served as a judge, the winner was Daniyal Mueenuddin.

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