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Wins 2004 PEN/Faulkner Award

For the second year in a row, a collection of short fiction has won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. It may seem a bit overdue that it is not until 2004 that John Updike wins this award, but the publication by Knopf of The Early Stories: 1953-1975, certainly marks a fitting time to give yet another nod in honor of Updike's contributions to literature.

At 864 pages, The Early Stories collects some 102 stories from the early years of Updike's career. The majority of these stories were first published in The New Yorker where Updike was on staff from 1955-1957. Renowned stories such as "Pigeon Feathers" are included as well as stories that have been long out-of-print prior to publication of this collection.

Born in 1932, Updike is the author of more that 50 books, including twenty novels and numerous collections of short stories, poems, and criticism. Most famous for his "Rabbit" series of which both Rabbit is Rich and Rabbit at Rest won Pulitzer Prizes, his fiction has won numerous awards including the O.Henry Prize, the National Book Award, the American Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Rosenthal Award, among others. He is a 1954 graduate of Harvard with a degree in English. Currently, he lives in Massachusetts.

The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction is one of America's largest peer-juried prizes for fiction, and it bestowed Updike with a $15,000 prize. His book was chosen from among 350 novels and short story collections published in the United States during 2003. Updike, along with four other finalists, was honored during the 24th annual PEN/Faulkner Award ceremony in Washington, D.C. in May 2004. Judges were fellow writers Ron Carlson, Chitra Divakaruni, and Elizabeth Strout; finalists were Frederick Barthelme for Elroy Nights, ZZ Packer for the short story collection Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, Caryl Pillips for A Distant Shore, and Tobias Wolff for Old School.

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In May 2005 Penguin UK published the paperback Three Trips: The Short-Story Writer as Tourist, a collection of three Updike short stories as part of its Penguin 70th Anniversary Special Editions.

Updike's Villages,
a novel, published in October 2004.

In Association with on The Early Stories: 1953-1975

The Early Stories preserves almost all of the short fiction John Updike published between 1954 and 1975.

The stories are arranged in eight sections, of which the first, “Olinger Stories,” already appeared as a paperback in 1964; in its introduction, Updike described Olinger, Pennsylvania, as “a square mile of middle-class homes physically distinguished by a bend in the central avenue that compels some side streets to deviate from the grid pattern.” These eleven tales, whose heroes age from ten to over thirty but remain at heart Olinger boys, are followed by groupings titled “Out in the World,” “Married Life,” and “Family Life,” tracing a common American trajectory. Family life is disrupted by the advent of “The Two Iseults,” a bifurcation originating in another small town, Tarbox, Massachusetts, where the Puritan heritage co-exists with post-Christian morals. “Tarbox Tales” are followed by “Far Out,” a group of more or less experimental fictions on the edge of domestic space, and “The Single Life,” whose protagonists are unmarried and unmoored.
--Book Description

Winning Short Story Collections

1986> The Old Forest and Other Stories by Peter Hillsman Taylor
1989> Dusk and Other Stories by James Salter
1997> Women in Their Beds by Gina Berriault
2003> The Caprices by Sabina Murray
2004> The Early Stories: 1953-1975 by John Updike


The PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (official website)

The Centaurian
An extensive site devoted to John Updike,
maintained by James Yerkes, Ph.D.


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