announced today that, "Kent Nelson has been named the 2014 winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, one of the nation’s most prestigious awards for a book of short fiction. Nelson’s manuscript, Spirit Bird: Short Stories, was selected by esteemed author David Guterson (Snow Falling on Cedars) from a field of 350 entries. The collection will be published by the University of Pittsburgh Press this fall.
“Spirit Bird indicates a seasoned talent at work,” Guterson said. “It’s a collection set in disparate geographies and touching on disparate lives, but it explores consistently the terrain of loneliness and yearning. One of its more impressive features is the way it artfully balances saying too much with saying too little. These stories open out instead of closing up. They’re moving, which is hard to do, and surprising in the sense that we’re unprepared for how they end,” he stated. “I respect and admire Spirit Bird. It’s the work of an author whose passionate immersion in life is evident on every page.”
This year at the Taos Summer Writers' Conference, Kent Nelson will teach a weeklong workshop focusing on short fiction. The class will be an intensive that explores on one of the hardest forms to write: the short story. Kent looks forward to focusing on each student's work in a significant and generous way.
Kent Nelson has published five collections of stories, four novels, and 133 stories in magazines. His work has been included in The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Mystery Stories, Pushcart, O. Henry, Best of the West, and other anthologies. His last novel, Land That Moves, Land That Stands Still won the Colorado Book Award and the Mountain and Plains Booksellers Award. Nelson's new collection of stories (including "Alba") has just won the Drue Heinz Literature Prize.
He has traveled widely in search of birds (757 North American species) and has run the Pikes Peak Marathon twice. He lives in Ouray, Colorado.