national anthology of the best undergraduate writing 2011

“Party Boy” of the Paris Review

With the launch of Issue One under our belts, we’re gearing up for Issue Two—look for it on Monday, April 16th—which will feature work from UVM, UC Berkeley, Louisiana State University, UGA, Princeton, and more. We’ll also announce the fiction prize winner, chosen by the Paris Review’s editor, Lorin Stein.

Stein has been turning heads since taking on editorship of the Paris Review, only the third to hold the position in the Review’s history. He’s known in the New York City literary scene for his charming ways and Madmen-esque style. The New York Times describes him as a “proud throwback,” saying, “his desk has an old-fashioned Rolodex, a vintage Lucky Strike case and a neat bowl of paper clips. A small, cream-colored saucer doubled as an ashtray for his Marlboro Reds. A martini glass, mostly drained of Tanqueray, rested near a typed manuscript.”

Of the plain china fiction finalists, Stein said: “These fourteen stories range in setting from rural Colombia to a Manila slum, from Port au Prince to Aurora, Illinois. Stylistically, the writers come from equally distant places. You find urban grit next to hushed lyricism next to essayistic fragments next to wry first-person family drama—a fair sample of the American short story today. As a group, these finalists impress me, above all, with their ambition. It takes chutzpah for a college student to tell the story of a divorce, or of a mother’s disappointment in her son, from the older adults’ points of view. It takes chutzpah—and shows a brave desire to go where the action is.”

We agree with Stein, and can’t wait to let you all devour his favorite of the fiction group, of which Stein says “the author makes good prose look easy, makes it look like fun, and the fun is contagious.” For more juicy reading on Stein, check out this New York Times article and this interview with Jerry Barca.


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