PEN America Best Debut Short Stories 2017
“A welcome addition to the run of established short story annuals, promising good work to come.” —Kirkus Reviews
THE INAUGURAL ANTHOLOGY OF LITERATURE’S MOST PROMISING NEW VOICES
Today’s most acclaimed writers all got their start when an editor encountered their work for the first time and took a chance. This anthology celebrates twelve such moments of discovery, and is the first volume of an annual collection—launched alongside PEN’s new Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers—that recognizes outstanding fiction debuts published in North America.
The dozen winning stories included here—selected this year by judges Kelly Link, Marie-Helene Bertino, and Nina McConigley—take place in South Carolina and in South Korea, on a farm in the eighteenth century and among the cubicles of a computer-engineering firm in the present day. They narrate ancient themes with current urgency: migration, memory, technology, language, love, ecology, identity, family. Together they act as a compass for contemporary literature; they tell us where we’re going.
Each work comes with an introduction by the editor who originally published it, explaining why he or she chose it. The commentaries provide insight into a process that often remains opaque to readers and aspiring writers, and offer a chance to showcase the vital work literary magazines do to nurture our boldest and most exciting new voices.