Best Debut Short Stories 2020 - The PEN America Dau Prize
The fourth anthology in this annual series continues Catapult's landmark publishing partnership with PEN America and features the best debut short fiction published in the US and Canada each year. PEN America will award the PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers prize of $2000 to 12 writers, and Catapult will publish the dozen stories in a gorgeously designed anthology.
Each yearly anthology's winners are selected by three high-profile judges; stories for the 2019 edition will be chosen by Tracy O’Neill (The Hopeful), Nafissa Thompson Spires (Heads of the Colored People), and Deb Olin Unferth (Wait Till You See Me Dance, I, Parrot, and more)
Unique among comparative titles, each story in the PEN anthology is framed by an introduction by the publication's editor explaining why they nominated the story for the prize, giving writers who aspire to be published insight into the editors' thought processes.
The first three volumes received well-deserved critical praise, feature coverage in major media like WNYC's All of It, and stories from the anthologies were featured in Levar Burton Reads, Electric Literature, and The Rumpus
The PEN America/Catapult anthology is aspirational and inspirational for anyone working hard to be a writer, and a rare opportunity for debut short fiction writers to reach a wider audience; it appeals to MFA students, aspiring writers, and other lovers of literary fiction.
This anthology is not only a bold endorsement of fresh, raw, and risky new voices, but also a thoughtfully selected, deliberately arranged compendium for those wanting to know what's next in the literary world.
The support network, awareness of, and enthusiasm for this book continues to grow each year; the support 2020 authors, journals, and editors will only extrapolate the existing base of 2017–2019 contributors
Prior editions of this anthology have launched at the nonprofit bookstore Housing Works, which has lead to multiple contributors meeting agents and securing debut book deals