Junot Díaz was born in the Dominican Republic and is the author of The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, which won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award; as well as This is How You Lose Her, a New York Times bestseller and National Book Award finalist; and the critically acclaimed Drown. His fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, African Voices, and numerous Best American Short Stories anthologies. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, PEN/Malamud Award, Dayton Literary Peace Prize, Guggenheim Fellowship, and PEN/O. Henry Award among other accolades. A graduate of Rutgers College, Díaz is currently the fiction editor at Boston Review and the Rudge and Nancy Allen Professor of Writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Claire Vaye Watkins was born and raised in the Mojave Desert. Her collection of short stories, Battleborn, won a Silver Pen Award from the Nevada Writers Hall of Fame and earned Watkins inclusion on the National Book Foundation's list of "5 Under 35." A graduate of the University of Nevada Reno, She earned her MFA from the Ohio State University, where she was a Presidential Fellow. Her stories and essays have appeared in Granta, One Story, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, Best of the West 2011, Best of the Southwest 2013, and elsewhere. An assistant professor at Bucknell University, Watkins is also the co-director, with Derek Palacio, of the Mojave School, a non-profit creative writing workshop for teenagers in rural Nevada.
Founder Julie Lindsey and Director Larry Dark selected the finalists for The Story Prize. Three independent judges will determine the winner. This year's judges are critic and author Jane Ciabattari, celebrated author and past Story Prize finalist Yiyun Li, and bookseller Sarah McNally of McNally Jackson Books in New York City.
For more on The Story Prize please visit: http://www.thestoryprize.org/