Don’t Write Alone | Interviews

A Roundtable With the PEN America Best Debut Short Stories Judges: Sabrina Orah Mark, Emily Nemens, and Deesha Philyaw

Many of the stories felt written on the edge of an edge of an edge of a world.

PEN/Robert J. Dau Short Story Prize for Emerging Writers

Catapult: Were there particular things you were looking for as you read the nominated stories?


Catapult: Were there any big surprises?

Catapult: Did you notice any recurring patterns/themes/subjects among the stories you read? If so, do the final selections reflect those larger patterns/themes, or push against them in some way?

Catapult: What was it like to come together as a group to discuss and decide on the twelve winning stories?


Catapult: Can you share a bit about your first published pieces, and which ones felt like big breaks?

pms: poem.memory.storyThe New York TimesThe Washington Post

ConduitHappilyThe Paris Review

Esquirecould The Cactus League

Catapult: What words of advice or encouragement would you share with this year’s winners, and to early-career writers more broadly?