The PEN/Faulkner Foundation announces that Edwidge Danticat has been selected as the winner of the 2023 PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story. Given since 1988 in honor of the late Bernard Malamud, the award recognizes writers who have demonstrated exceptional achievement in the short story form.
“Edwidge Danticat is a once-in-a-generation kind of writer, one who changes the landscape of fiction by crafting stories that exalt human experience into the realm of the mythic. It’s impossible to read Danticat’s exquisitely crafted stories and not walk away transformed. Lili. Lamort. Princesse. Elsie. Anika. They will not be forgotten! Danticat’s stories are a gift to us all,” said Dolen Perkins-Valdez, PEN/Malamud Award Committee Chair.
Edwidge Danticat is the author of several books, including Breath, Eyes, Memory, The Farming of Bones, and the novel-in-stories, The Dew Breaker, a 2005 PEN/Faulkner finalist. She is also the editor of The Butterfly’s Way: Voices from the Haitian Dyaspora in the United States, The Beacon Best of 2000, and Haiti Noir, Haiti Noir 2. She has written seven books for young adults and children, as well as a travel narrative, After the Dance, and a collection of essays, Create Dangerously. She is a 2009 MacArthur Fellow. Her most recent book, Everything Inside: Stories, is a 2020 winner of The Story Prize, and the National Books Critics Circle Fiction Prize. She is also the author of an earlier collection of stories, Krik? Krak!
“I am deeply honored to receive the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story, named for such a virtuoso of the craft. In its conciseness and immediacy, the short story offers a unique way of addressing the complex emotions and realities that consume and haunt me and bring me joy. Many of my short stories pay homage to the oral tradition I was steeped in as a child in Haiti and as an immigrant in the United States. The short story has also been a unique space for me to experiment, explore, and grow as a storyteller, which makes this award even more gratifying,” said Danticat. “I extend my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, Bernard Malamud’s family, the Chair, Dolen Perkins-Valdez, and the judges for the prize.”
Last year’s winner was Yiyun Li. Recent winners include Charles Baxter, Lydia Davis, John Edgar Wideman, Amina Gautier, Joan Silber, Jhumpa Lahiri, Joy Williams, Deborah Eisenberg, and George Saunders. A complete list of past winners is available at www.penfaulkner.org/our-awards/the-pen-malamud-award.
About the art of the short story, Bernard Malamud once 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.”
Danticat will be honored at the annual PEN/Malamud Award Ceremony, held in partnership with American University, on Friday, December 1, 2023. Ticket information for the ceremony, which will be open to the public, will be available this fall.