2009 was the year of “the sudden and splendid blossoming of the short story,” declared the Guardian, observing that women have picked up three major UK prizes this year. Two of the three have been published in the U.S.
Why would women’s work stand out in this short form, when women are less often awarded major prizes for their novels? Guardian critic Sarah Crown speculates that
Short stories…are famously uncommercial; that, coupled with the perceived exactingness of the form and its heavyweight literary lineage, means that short stories by women are taken seriously – and awarded accordingly.
Most recently, Zimbabwean author Petina Gappah claimed the Guardian‘s First Book award for fiction, for her collection, An Elegy for Easterly. “Gappah’s deep well of empathy and saber-sharp command of satire give her collection a surplus of heart and verve,” said the PW review. According to World Cat, 336 libraries have it, with those we checked showing modest numbers of copies.
Last May, Alice Munro won the £60,000 Man Booker International prize, for a body of work the judges described as “practically perfect.” The Canadian author’s most recent collection is Too Much Happiness, which up to seven holds per copy on hand, or more, in several libraries we checked.
Available in Large Print from Center Point Platinum Fiction on January 1, 2010
- $34.95; ISBN 9781602856462
Also available from Random House Audio
- CD: $40; 9780307576736