National Book Critics Circle fiction prize goes to Edith Pearlman

It’s official: short story author Edith Pearlman took the big fiction prize at the National Book Critics Circle awards last night for her book Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories, a collection of 34 Chekhov-like short stories that was also nominated for the National Book Award. The publication is the first from Lookout Books and a triumph for Pearlman’s distinctive storytelling, bringing it to a larger audience. Congrats to Edith and Lookout Books! had this to say about Edith’s achievement:

Book awards, unlike film awards, can be wildly unpredictable and frequently go in favor of the author with the least buzz — in November, the National Book Award for fiction went to Jesmyn Ward for Salvage the Bones, arguably the least known of the nominated titles. I was predicting that the NBCC would go to Teju Cole, a young, New Yorker-anointed author who wrote about a Nigerian immigrant in Open City. But Pearlman’s meticulously crafted sentences dazzled critics when Binocular Vision was released last year with little fanfare from Lookout Books, an imprint of the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

Binocular Vision is the first book to be nominated for the National Book Award, the Story Prize, and the National Book Critics Circle Award in the same year.

The three finalists for the Story Prize, an annual award for books of short fiction chosen from among a field of 92 books that 60 different publishers or imprints submitted in 2011, are: The Angel Esmeralda by Don DeLillo, We Others by Steven Millhauser, and Binocular Vision by Edith Pearlman. The winner will be announced March 21, 2012.

We’re so thrilled for Edith and her publisher, Lookout Books!

Check here for the full list of last night’s winners.


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