PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2018
“These dozen stories tend to the dark side, with rare moments of humor in a moody fictive landscape; they’re thus just right for their time . . . A promise of good things to come from this year’s roster of prizewinners.” —Kirkus Reviews
“A book of gems, each carrying its own clarity and cut, that teaches students of writing how limitless the short story form can be.” —Marie-Helene Bertino, author of 2 A.M. at The Cat's Pajamas
PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2018 celebrates twelve outstanding stories by today’s most promising new fiction writers and the literary magazines that discovered them. The characters within these pages include a college dropout dressed up as Hercules at Disney World; a college graduate playing a prostitute in a ghost town in Montana; a father from Trinidad leading a double life on a temporary visa; and a housewife in Taipei perfectly performing her familial and marital duties while harboring secret desires.
This year’s selections were made by three award-winning writers, themselves innovators of the short story form: Jodi Angel, Lesley Nneka Arimah, and Alexandra Kleeman. Each work is accompanied by commentary from the editors who first published it, explaining what made the piece stand out from the submissions pile, and why they were moved to share it with readers.
ABOUT THE EDITORS:
Jodi Angel is the author of two story collections, The History of Vegas and You Only Get Letters from Jail, which was named as a Best Book of 2013 by Esquire. Her work has appeared in Esquire, Tin House, One Story, Zoetrope: All-Story, Electric Literature Recommended Reading, and Byliner, among other publications and anthologies. Her short story, "Snuff," was selected for inclusion in The Best American Mystery Stories 2014. She lives in Northern California with her wife and daughters.
Lesley Nneka Arimah is a Nigerian writer born in the UK and currently living in Minneapolis. She won The 2017 Kirkus Prize for Fiction, is a ﬁnalist for the John Leonard Prize, and was named a “5 under 35” honoree by the National Book Foundation for her debut story collection What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s, Granta, Catapult, and other publications, and she has received grants and awards from Commonwealth Writers, AWP, the Elizabeth George Foundation, the Jerome Foundation and others.
Alexandra Kleeman is a Staten Island-based writer of ﬁction and nonﬁction, and the winner of the 2016 Bard Fiction Prize. Her ﬁction has been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Zoetrope: All-Story, Conjunctions, and Guernica, among others. Nonﬁction essays and reportage have appeared in Harper's, Tin House, n+1, and The Guardian. Her work has received scholarships and grants from Bread Loaf, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Santa Fe Art Institute, and ArtFarm Nebraska. She is the author of the novel You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine and the story collection Intimations.