by Wendy Russ
April 27, 2016: Joy Williams has won the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story. The award was named after Bernard Malamud and is administered by the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. Williams is the 28th winner of this $5,000 prize.
Richard Ford, a member of this year’s PEN/Malamud selection committee, said that Williams’s stories are “incandescent, witty, alarming, often hilarious while affecting seeming inadvertence (but not really) in their powerful access to our human condition.”
She is compared frequently to Raymond Carver and her work is described as comedic, dark, gritty, and often … visionary. And in many interviews Williams comes across as quirky as many of her characters. She admitted once her preferred choice of dying would be in a car crash (quick!) and she laments that there is no danger in literature, that in the future we must behold “the mysterious, undeserved beauty of the world.”
We have scoured the interwebs to bring you a sampling of Williams’s work that you can read for free online. We do the dirty work so you don’t have to.
Chicken Hill, The New Yorker, September 14, 2015
The Mission, Harpers Magazine, February 2014
Harmony, Micro Fiction: An Anthology of Really Short Stories, 1996
Escapes, Granta 19, June 1, 1986
The Skater, Escapes, Vintage, 1991