Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Charles Lambert Hits the Big Time

The O. Henry Prize Stories is arguably the most prestigious collection of short stories published in the United States each year (though the selection of stories is drawn from a global pool). They focus on stories that, in O. Henry tradition, twist in your hands, exposing a surprising side before the end. Being included therein is the equivalent of arriving in literary Valhalla and having the hosts of the dead heroes rise up to applaud you. As we say in California, it's, y'know, like a totally big deal. The jurors are invariably a fascinating mix--Dave Eggers, Francine Prose, Ann Patchett, and Richard Russo are just a sampling.

This year's jurors included the redoubtable Charles D'Ambrosio, the legendary Ursula K Le Guin, and the quirky (but renowned) Lily Tuck. Some of the writers they selected for the forthcoming 2007 edition (out in May) are The Usual Suspects: William Trevor. Alice Munro. Susan Straight. Writers who are universally acknowledged as masters of the form. Okay, what's new?

What's new is that scattered amongst those names (well, actually, the second in the list as the credits run) is a story entitled "The Scent of Cinnamon" by some guy named "Charles Lambert." Yes, that Charles Lambert. The guy who drops comments here every so often. The fellow whose link is posted over in the sidebar of this blog.

Hats off, I say. That is so unspeakably cool it makes me dizzy.

Is it Good News Week around here, or has someone secretly adjusted my meds?


Charles Lambert said...

I can't quite believe it's me. I feel as though someone is going to come round and tell me it's all a massive practical joke and I've actually won nothing at all.

I mean--Alice Munro and Charles Lambert on the same contents page? It doesn't get any better.

And guess what? I've got another story coming out in a UK anthology called New Writing 15 in a couple of months and I'm sitting next to Doris Lessing in the biogs at the back.

Doris Lessing! Alice Munro! Pick me up, someone...

Thanks, David.

David Isaak said...

Congrats, Charles. Amazing.

roger said...

Yes, congratulations to Charles. I 'know' Charles, sort of, from a writers' site called zoetrope. It's a terrific achievement. (Getting the O'Henry, not belonging to a writers's site!)

Charles Lambert said...

Thanks, Roger. Finding the time to participate fully in zoetrope can also feel like an achievement sometimes!