Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Jim Shepard wins the Story Prize

The Oscars and the Grammy’s don’t excite me. My cup of tea? The National Book Award, the Pulitzer, and the Story Prize. Jim Shepard won this year’s Story Prize for Like You’d Understand, Anyway. Shepard is often considered a writer’s writer due to his unique descriptions and interesting sentence structure. That’s fine and dandy, but what makes him truly great is his grace and humor. His stories vacillate between humor and depravation, sounding the extreme depths of his characters. Who else could have you empathizing with a Nazi anthropologist tracking yeti in Tibet?

Shepard’s protagonists run the gamut from Chernobyl nuclear engineers to Roman foot soldiers. These stories are weird—not weird in a “huh…that’s kind of cute” way, but weird in a “how in the world does he do that” way. He is a master of the short story. His sentences are incredible, playfully flowing into each other with unpredictable results. Yes he is a writer’s writer, but don’t let that scare you away. Shepard is creative and hilarious and fun to read.

Like You’d Understand, Anyway

Love and Hydrogen

Batting Against Castro

Past winners of the Story Prize

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