Christopher Meeks most recent short story collection, Months and Seasons, is up for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. It’s a prize from Ireland, the most lucrative short story award around, which Jumpra Lahiri won last year for Unaccustomed Earth. American nominees include:
Eleanor Bluestein, Tea and Other Ayama Na Tales, BkMk Press (University of
Bonnie Jo Cambell, American Salvage,Wayne State University Press
Dennis Cooper, Ugly Man: Stories, Harper Perennial
David Eagleman, Sum, Pantheon Books (Random House)
Mary Gaitskill, Don’t Cry, Pantheon Books (Random House)
Lauren Groff, Delicate Edible Bird, Hyperion
Daniel A. Hoyt, Then We Saw The Flames, University of Massachusetts Press
Ian MacMillan, Our People, BkMk Press (University of Missouri-Kansas City)
James Mathews, Last Known Position, University of North Texas Press
Christopher Meeks, Months and Season, White Whisker Books
Lydia Peelle, Reasons for and Advantage of Breathing, Harper Perennial
Andrew Porter, The Theory of Light and Matter, University of Georgia Press
Glen Pourciau, Invite, University of Iowa Press
Midge Raymond, Forgetting English, Eastern Washington University Press
Wells Tower, Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned, Farrar, Straus and Giroux
In the guidelines for the prize, it says,
Self-publications are considered but entries from vanity presses are not. Self-publishers should be aware that the standard is world-class and very competitive.
This a major argument for starting your own press, using a printer like Lightning Source, rather than being stamped with a subsidy press like iUniverse. Chris Meeks publishes all of his work under the name White Whisker Books, which eliminates much of the stigma associated with subsidy services.
At €35,000 the award is the largest in the world for the short story form and monetarily is greater than the Costa Book of the Year Award and the Orange Prize. The shortlist of six will be decided in late June with the winner announced on September 20th at the close of the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Festival in Cork. The judges are Lloren A. Foster, an Assistant Professor of English at Hampton University; Milka Jankowska who co-ordinates the International Short Story Festival in Wroclaw, Poland; and award-winning Irish author Vincent McDonnell.
Months and Seasons contains a dozen stories. With a combination of main characters from young to old and with drama and humor, the tales pursue such people as a supermodel who awakens after open-heart surgery, a famous playwright who faces a firestorm consuming the landscape, a reluctant man who attends a Halloween party as Dracula, and a New Yorker who thinks she’s a chicken. You can get a taste of one story here: http://www.redroom.com/publishedwork/months-and-seasons.
Read SPR’s interview with Chris Meeks.