2005/06 Winner & Finalists


 The Hill Road by Patrick O'Keeffe

The Hill Road by Patrick O'Keeffe (Viking) — The rural Irish village of Kilroan is the setting for four long stories ranging in time from World War I to the 1980s. Kilroan's main industry is dairy farming and the primary diversions are alcohol and talk. For most, it's a difficult life, full of backbreaking work and thwarted dreams. But hidden passions lurk beneath the surface, occasionally igniting in sudden, unexpected violence--acts that are covered up and over the years become guilty secrets for some and mysteries to most. With its attention to detail and its lyrical eloquence, this debut collection invites comparison to the work of Alice Munro and William Trevor.

Patrick O'Keeffe was born and raised on a dairy farm in rural Ireland and immigrated to the United States in the mid-1980s. He graduated from the University of Kentucky and earned an MFA from the University of Michigan, where he is currently a lecturer. He lives in Ann Arbor.

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Finalist: The Summer He Didn't Die by Jim Harrison

The Summer He Didn’t Die by Jim Harrison (Atlantic Monthly Press) — These three novellas, by a master of the long-story form, range from the title piece, about a Michigan Indian named Brown Dog (a recurring Harrison character), to a story told from the perspectives of three wealthy, middle-aged wives and college friends who all have had an affair with the same man, to a three-part meditation on the writing life and the influence of place, time, and happenstance on the creative process over the course of a lifetime.

Jim Harrison is the author of four previous volumes of novellas, among themLegends of the Fall; seven novels, including Sundog; ten poetry collections; a children’s book, and three works of nonfiction, including the memoir Off to the Side. He has won a National Endowment for the Arts grant and a Guggenheim Fellowship, among other honors, and his work has been published in twenty-two languages. He divides his time between Montana and Arizona.

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Finalist: Mothers & Other Monsters by Maureen McHugh

Mothers & Other Monsters by Maureen F. McHugh (Small Beer Press) — A collection of thirteen elegant and insightful stories, each with speculative elements that heighten the dramatic tension and raise the emotional stakes, published by a small press based in Northampton, Massachusetts, and written by an author best known for her science fiction novels.

Maureen F. McHugh is the author of four novels, including China Mountain Zhang, which won the Tiptree, Lambda, and Locus Awards, and Nekropolis, which was a Book Sense 76 pick and a New York Times Editor's Choice selection. She lives in Ohio and teaches writing at the John Carroll University in Cleveland and at the Imagination and Clarion workshops. Her Web site is my.en.com/~mcq.

The 2005/06 Story Prize Judges

  • Author Andrea Barrett
  • Librarian Nancy Pearl
  • Critic James Wood