Edith Pearlman to Receive the 2011 PEN/Malamud Award

Washington, DC––Edith Pearlman has been selected to receive the 24th annual PEN/Malamud Award.  Given annually since 1988 in honor of the late Bernard Malamud, this award recognizes a body of work that demonstrates excellence in the art of short fiction. The announcement was made today by the directors of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, Robert Stone and Susan Richards Shreve, Co-Chairs.

“Bernard Malamud expressed the hope that ‘expert practitioners of the short story, especially those who come rarely if ever to the novel, will be recognized’ so that their work might be ‘brought emphatically to public attention.’  With this prize, we hope to bring exactly such long-deserved attention emphatically to Ms. Pearlman’s beautifully crafted and deeply moving short fiction,” said Deborah Tannen, chair of the Malamud Award Selection Committee.

Edith Pearlman has published more than 250 works of short fiction and short non-fiction in national magazines, literary journals, anthologies, and on-line publications. Her work has appeared in Best American Short StoriesThe O. Henry Prize Collection, New Stories from the South, andThe Pushcart Prize Collection Best of the Small Presses.

Her first collection of stories, Vaquita, won the Drue Heinz Prize for Literature and was published by the University of Pittsburgh University Press in 1996. Her second, Love Among The Greats(Eastern Washington University Press, 2002) won the Spokane Annual Fiction Prize. Her third collection,How to Fall, was published by Sarabande Press in 2005 and won the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction. Her fourth collection, Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories, was published in January 2011 by Lookout Books, a new imprint at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

In a review of Binocular Vision,published in the New York Times, Roxana Robinson wrote, “Pearlman writes about the predicaments — odd, wry, funny and painful — of being human. Her characters are sophisticated, highly literate, relatively affluent and often musical. They travel, they read, they go to museums and concerts: they take pleasure in what the world offers. They’re also principled, and moral responsibility plays an important part in their lives. Pearlman’s prose is smooth and poetic, and her world seems safe and engaging. So it’s arresting when, suddenly, almost imperceptibly, she slips emotion into the narrative, coloring it unexpectedly with deep or delicate hues.”

The PEN/Malamud Award includes a reading in the 2011/2012 PEN/Faulkner Reading Series at the Folger Shakespeare Library and a prize of $5,000. The selection committee is composed of a panel of PEN/Faulkner Board members.  Ms. Pearlman will be given the award on Friday, December 2, 2011 at the Folger Shakespeare Library.  Tickets for the event will go on sale September 1, 2011.

Previous PEN/Malamud Award winners include: Edward P. Jones, Nam Le, John Updike, Saul Bellow, George Garrett, Frederick Busch and Andre Dubus, Eudora Welty, Peter Taylor, Grace Paley, Stuart Dybek and William Maxwell, Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Munro, John Barth, T. Coraghessan Boyle, Ann Beattie and Nathan Englander, Sherman Alexie, Richard Ford, Junot Diaz, Ursula K. Le Guin, Barry Hannah, Maile Meloy, Richard Bausch, Nell Freudenberger, Lorrie Moore, Tobias Wolff, Adam Haslett, Elizabeth Spencer, Cynthia Ozick Peter Ho Davies, Amy Hempel and Alistair MacLeod.

During his 37-year writing career, Bernard Malamud received the National Book Award twice as well as the Pulitzer Prize, a PEN/Faulkner Award nomination, and the Gold Medal for lifetime achievement from the National Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. His published works include: The Natural, The Magic Barrel, The Fixer, and The Stories of Bernard Malamud.

Talking about the art of the short story, Malamud said, “I like packing a self or two into a few pages, predicting lifetimes. The drama is terse, happens faster, and is often outlandish. A short story is a way of indicating the complexity of life in a few pages, producing the surprise and effect of a profound knowledge in a short time.”

The PEN/Faulkner Foundation, now celebrating its 31st year, is committed to building audiences for literature and bringing writers together with their readers. This mission is accomplished through readings at the Folger by distinguished writers who have won the respect of readers and writers alike; thePEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the largest peer- juried award for fiction in the United States; thePEN/Malamud Award, honoring excellence in the short story; and the Writers in Schools program, which brings nationally and internationally- acclaimed authors to public high school classrooms in Washington to discuss their work with students.

 

Press Contacts:

Garland Scott: 202-675-0342, gscott@folger.edu

Matt Burriesci: 571-451-7389, mburriesci@penfaulkner.org