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Deborah Eisenberg named winner of the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction

Deborah Eisenberg was chosen as the winner of the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction for her volume, “The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg.”

Her book is a compilation of four previous works, one of which “Twilight of the Superheroes,” was a PEN/Faulkner finalist in 2007. Over the years, Eisenberg, 66, who grew up in Winnetka, Ill. and has lived in New York for decades, has emerged as one of America’s leading short story writers. She has taught at the University of Virginia since 1994. Eisenberg received a MacArthur Fellowship in 2009.

Eisenberg was selected by the judges for the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, which is administered by the Folger Shakespeare Library. The prize comes with a $15,000 award and is given at a dinner ceremony on May 7.

Judging 320 novels and short story submissions this year were Laura Furman, William Kittridge and Helena Maria Viramontes.

In a statement Tuesday, Furman said, “From the first to the last of her collected stories, Deborah Eisenberg demonstrates her sharp intelligence, literary inventiveness, and her clear understanding of human interconnectedness as it exists in isolation. Eisenberg’s reader often has the feeling that her characters don’t quite understand either who they are or how they got themselves into their present fix.”

Previous winners were Sherman Alexie, Joseph O’Neill, E.L. Doctorow, John Updike and John Edgar Wideman, among others.

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