Best Debut Short Stories: Pen American Dau Prize (VIRTUAL EVENT: A reading and celebration of the best debut short stories of the year)

We will be presenting this event virtually, using Zoom. RSVP here.

A reading from the essential annual guide to the newest voices in short fiction, selected this year by Tracy O'Neill, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, and Deb Olin Unferth

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 compelling 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: Tracy O'Neill, Nafissa Thompson-Spires, and Deb Olin Unferth. 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.

Contributors include:

Shannon Sanders

Valerie Hegarty

Ani Sison Cooney

Kristen Surya

Matthew Vegari

Willa Richards

Mohit Manohar

Sena Moon

Mbozi Haimbe


Tracy O'Neill is the author of the novels The Hopeful and Quotients. She has been named a National Book Foundation 5 Under 35 honoree and awarded the Center for Fiction's Emerging Writers Fellowship. Her writing has appeared in Granta, Rolling Stone, The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and VQR. She attended the MFA program at CCNY and the PhD program in communications at Columbia University. 

Nafissa Thompson-Spires is the author of Heads of the Colored People, which won the PEN Open Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and an Audie Award. She is also the recipient of a 2019 Whiting Award. Her work has appeared in The Paris Review DailyDissent, and Buzzfeed Books. She teaches creative writing at Cornell University.

Deb Olin Unferth is the author of six books, including the novel Barn 8, forthcoming in 2020 from Graywolf. Her work has appeared in Harper’s, The Paris Review, Granta, Vice, Tin House, the New York Times, NOON, and McSweeney’s. An associate professor at the University of Texas in Austin, she also teaches creative writing at a penitentiary in southern Texas.  


Buy the Book: 
Best Debut Short Stories 2020: The PEN America Dau Prize Cover Image
By Yuka Igarashi (Editor), Tracy O'Neill (Selected by), Nafissa Thompson-Spires (Selected by), Deb Olin Unferth (Selected by)
ISBN: 9781646220229
Availability: On Our Shelves
Published: Catapult - August 25th, 2020