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PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2019 (PEN America Best Debut Short Stories)

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PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2019 (PEN America Best Debut Short Stories)

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The essential annual guide to the newest voices in short fiction selected by Danielle Evans, Alice Sola Kim, and Carmen Maria Machado “Prominent issues of social justice and cultural strife are woven thematically throughout 12 stories. Stories of prison reform, the immigrant experience, and the aftermath of sexual assault make the book a vivid time capsule that will guide readers back into the ethos of 2019 for generations to come . . . Each story displays a mastery of the form, sure to inspire readers to seek out further writing from these adept authors and publications.” -Booklist Who are the most promising short story writers working today? Where do we look to discover the future stars of literary fiction? This book offers a dozen compelling answers to these questions. The stories collected here represent the most recent winners of the PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers, which recognizes twelve writers who have made outstanding debuts in literary magazines in the previous year. Chosen by a panel of distinguished judges, themselves innovators of the short story form, they take us from the hutongs of Beijing to the highways of Saskatchewan, from the letters of a poet devoted to God in seventeenth-century France to a chorus of poets devoted to revolution in the “last days of empire.” They describe consuming, joyful, tragic, complex, ever-changing relationships between four friends who meet at a survivors group for female college students; between an English teacher and his student-turned-lover in Japan; between a mother and her young son. In these pages, a woodcutter who loses his way home meets a man wearing a taxidermied wolf mask, and an Ivy League-educated “good black girl” climbs the flagpole in front of the capitol building in South Carolina. Each piece comes with an introduction by its original editors, whose commentaries provide valuable insight into what magazines are looking for in their submissions, and showcase the vital work they do to nurture literature’s newest voices.

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