From Our Staff | April 27, 2011

Two big annoucements to hit you over the noggin with. Well, hit you softly. Like with a Nerf bat. More of a love tap, really…


We are pleased to annouce that Tien-Yi Lee is the winner of our annual William Peden Prize, our annual $1000 award for the best short story published in the previous year. Our judge was Lucy Ferriss, who made her selection from the stories published in Volume 33 (2010). There is no separate application process for the award. A few weeks ago, we made a phone call and asked Lucy if she wouldn’t mind being our judge, re-reading the last four issues (because she’s a subscriber, you know, she’s actually already read ’em), and she graciously agreed. Of Tien-Yi’s story, Lucy wrote:

“Lee’s story pulls off an extraordinary trick. The rule is that the first-person story must, in the end, be about the narrator. But “How I Came to Love You” seems to insist that it’s about the narrator’s sister and “this Yonah.” Only ever so gradually, with slight turns of phrase and the slow march of events, do we find ourselves changing along with the narrator, until the central relationship becomes that between her and Yonah, and the ending is both a revelation and an “Oh, yes” moment.

“Everything in the story is handled with both delicacy and precision; nothing is sentimentalized; even Lucia’s mental illness is presented as the evanescent and frustrating phenomenon it must be. I found myself moved by this story in ways I never would have expected–mostly by the story itself, the organic whole of it, not one moment or another.”

I know, right? If you haven’t read it already (why haven’t you read it already?!), Tien-Yi’s story is in the Fall 2010 issue, which you can snag here.

More good news! We just received an email from Robert Atwan, the series editor of the Best American Essays. He informed us that the guest editor, Edwidge Danticat, has selected Rachel Riederer’s essay “Patient” for the 2011 anthology. Holla! Atwan wrote that he and Danticat both loved the essay and that it was one of the first ones selected. The new Best American Essays 2011 will be out in October.

Buy why wait that long? Go ahead and re-read Rachel’s essay now, or, if need be, you can go here and order a copy of the Spring 2011 issue, which is a pretty good one.

Our entire staff is really, really happy for Tien-Yi and Rachel. We’re proud to have published their work, humbled that they sent it to us in the first place, and delighted that both pieces will receive the wider acknowledgment they deserve. Congratulations to you both!

Michael Nye is the managing editor of the Missouri Review.