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Jim Shepard wins Story Prize

Posted by Jan Gardner  February 28, 2008 08:12 AM

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Jim Shepard,who teaches at Williams College, has won the Story Prize for his collection, "Like You'd Understand, Anyway.'' The $20,000 award is the largest prize for fiction in the US.

Each of the 11 stories in the collection is set in a different time and place. When Shepard spoke at Harvard last fall as part of a panel with Stephen King, he was funny and self-effacing. He cheerfully described the genesis of one of the stories. He had come across a petition from an executioner in France dating back hundreds of years -- and what did the executioner complain about? His clothing budget.

Shepard was asked what advice he had for aspiring writers. Read an "enormous amount" and write a lot, he said. When he was asked whether he preferred writing stories or novels, he replied, "I'm just so happy to be working with a functioning idea that I don't care whether it's a story or a novel."

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