Morgan Talty Submitted photo

Recognition keeps pouring in for Maine author Morgan Talty’s debut.

His book, “Night of the Living Rez,” was named one of three finalists this week for The Story Prize, which honors American short story collections.

The other finalists are “Natural History” by Andrea Barrett, who is a previous National Book Award winner, and “Bliss Montage” by Ling Ma. The three were chosen among 119 submissions.

The winner of The Story Prize, which comes with a $20,000 award, will be announced March 15.

Talty, who lives in Levant, just outside Bangor, published “Night of the Living Rez” this summer to widespread acclaim. It’s a collection of 12 interconnected short stories based on the Penobscot Indian reservation where he grew up.

The book was included on numerous national “best of 2022” lists (Time, NPR, Esquire and Publishers Weekly, among others) and already has won a New England Book Award for fiction and was named a finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Fiction.


The Story Prize was founded in 2004 by Julie Lindsey and is directed by Larry Dark, who previously was the series editor for the annual short story anthology “Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards” from 1997 to 2002. It’s funded by the Chisholm Foundation.

“We continue to be astounded by the range and variety of short story collections we read each year. These three books were beautifully written and original, with each story in each book contributing to a cohesive and impactful whole,” Dark said in a statement announcing the finalists.

Past winners of The Story Prize include authors with Maine ties: Anthony Doerr (for “Memory Wall”), Elizabeth Strout (for “Anything is Possible”), and Rick Bass (for “For a Little While”). Doerr is a graduate of Bowdoin College, Strout is a part-time Maine resident, and Bass has been a teacher at the Stonecoast MFA program at the University of Southern Maine, where Talty was one of his mentees.

At the March 15 announcement, all three 2023 finalists will be interviewed and will read from their work.

In addition to working on his next book, Talty is an assistant professor of English at the University of Maine.

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