2010/11 Winner & Finalists


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 Winner: Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr

Memory Wall by Anthony Doerr (Scribner) — Amazing things happen in these six stories: Memories are stored in cartridges so people can retain them as they age. An old woman stays behind when an entire Chinese village is evacuated to make way for a dam. A young girl catches an enormous sturgeon in a river from which the species long ago disappeared. And a holocaust survivor finds herself reunited with long lost childhood companions as her health deteriorates. Buy this book 

Anthony Doerr is the author of three other books: The Shell Collector, About Grace, and Four Seasons in Rome. His short fiction has won three O. Henry Awards and two Pushcart Prizes, and it has appeared in The Best American Short Stories, The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories, and The Scribner Anthology of Contemporary Fiction. Other awards include the Rome Prize from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award, a  Fellowship, an NEA Fellowship, and the National Magazine Award for Fiction. In 2007, Granta named Doerr to its Best of Young American novelists list. He lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife and two sons.

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Finalist: Gold Boy, Emerald Girl by Yiyun Li

Gold Boy, Emerald Girl by Yiyun Li (Random House) — The author’s native China is the setting for short stories solidly in the literary tradition of her adopted country, the U.S. An unmarried, middle-aged woman traces the complex roots of her solitude. A couple that had emigrated to the U.S. returns to China to hire a surrogate mother after the death of their daughter. And an aging teacher schemes to make a match of her son and a favorite pupil from the past. Buy this book

Yiyun Li is also the author of A Thousand Years of Good Prayers and The Vagrants. She is a native of Beijing, a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a MacArthur Foundation fellow. She has won the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, a Whiting Writers’ Award, and the Guardian First Book Award. In 2007, Granta named her to its Best of Young American novelists list, and in 2010, The New Yorker named her as one of its top 20 fiction writers under 40. Her work has also appeared in A Public SpaceThe Best American Short StoriesThe O. Henry Prize Stories, and other publications. She teaches at the University of California, Davis, and lives in Oakland with her husband and their two sons.

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Finalist: Death is Not An Option by Suzanne Rivecca

Death Is Not An Option by Suzanne Rivecca (W.W. Norton) — Among the misfits that populate these seven brutally honest stories are a bright girl totally out of place on a rah-rah high school retreat, a suicide hotline worker who can’t stick with the script and seeks a blind man’s counsel, a women facing a confrontation with the uncle who sexually abused her as a child, and a kindergarten teacher who finds the source of a student’s injuries more shocking than she feared. Buy this book

Suzanne Rivecca’s first book was a New York Times Editor's Choice selection and was named a Best Book of 2010 by the San Francisco Chronicle and NPR.org. Stories from the collection have received the Pushcart Prize, a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and inclusion in two editions of Best New American Voices. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford, she worked for years in San Francisco's homeless services sector. She currently lives in Boston, where she is a Bunting Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

The 2010/11 Story Prize Judges

  • Bookseller Marie Du Vaure
  • Granta editor John Freeman
  • Author Jayne Anne Phillips