Sabrina Orah Mark and Emily Nemens Present Best Debut Short Stories 2022: The PEN America Dau Prize

September 20th


The essential annual guide to the newest voices in short fiction, selected this year by Deesha Philyaw, Emily Nemens, and Sabrina Orah Mark

Who are the most promising short story writers working today? Where do we look to discover the future stars of literary fiction? This book will offer a dozen 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. They are chosen by a panel of distinguished judges, themselves innovators of the short story form: Deesha Philyaw, Emily Nemens, and Sabrina Orah Mark. 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.


The event will include readings from:
Catherine Bai, Erin Connal, Oyedotun Damilola, Yasmin Majeed, Emma Shannon, Cal Shook, Preeti Vangani, and Seth Wang. 


About this year's judges:

Sabrina Orah Mark is the author of the poetry collections The Babies and Tsim Tsum. Wild Milk, her first book of fiction, is recently out from Dorothy, a publishing project. Happily, which began as a monthly column on fairytales and motherhood in The Paris Review, is forthcoming from Random House in 2023. She has received fellowships from the Creative Capital Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sustainable Arts Foundation, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She lives in Athens, Georgia. You can read more about her teaching and her writing at

Emily Nemens is the author of The Cactus League, which was a New York Times Editors’ Choice and was named one of the best books of 2020 by NPR. Her fiction has appeared in The Iowa Review, The Gettysburg Review, n+1, and elsewhere. Emily spent a decade editing literary quarterlies, including The Paris Review, which won the American Society of Magazine Editors’ Award for Fiction under her tenure, and The Southern Review. She teaches at Drew University and is the sports/senior editor for Stranger's Guide. Read more about her creative, editorial, and educational work at

Deesha Philyaw is the author of the short story collection The Secret Lives of Church Ladies, which won the 2021 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, the 2020/2021 Story Prize, and the 2020 LA Times Book Prize: The Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and was a finalist for the 2020 National Book Award for Fiction. The Secret Lives of Church Ladies focuses on Black women, sex, and the Black church, and is being adapted for television by HBO Max with Tessa Thompson executive producing. Deesha is also a Kimbilio Fiction Fellow and will be the 2022-2023 John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi.

Buy the Book: 
Best Debut Short Stories 2022: The PEN America Dau Prize By Yuka Igarashi (Series edited by), Sarah Lyn Rogers (Series edited by) Cover Image
By Yuka Igarashi (Series edited by), Sarah Lyn Rogers (Series edited by)
ISBN: 9781646221639
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Catapult - September 20th, 2022