Over the past two decades, New Stories from the South has been identified as “one of the most significant and eagerly anticipated annual collections of American short stories” (Booklist). The quality of the selections and the skill of its editor have been lauded: “Excitingly original stories from new and recently emergent writers make this now-venerable annual a must for readers who mean to keep up with contemporary short fiction. . . . Ravenel is one of the most resourceful and intelligent editors in the business” (Kirkus Reviews, starred). And NPR commentator Alex Chadwick sums it up best when he calls New Stories “A good answer to the question, ‘Why read fiction?’”(NPR’s Morning Edition).
It’s in these pages that readers first encountered many of the writers whose work they’ve now followed and enjoyed for years, and where they continue to find the freshest voices on the verge of stardom. In the 2005 volume, Ravenel treats us to works by Robert Olen Butler, Dennis Lehane, Moira Crone, Tom Franklin, Michael Parker, Rebecca Soppe, and Bret Anthony Johnston, among many others, and a preface by the inimitable Jill McCorkle.Whether it’s a young woman taking her teacher to task for favoring his more beautiful students, or a couple on the edge of despair with their colicky baby, or a neighbor who takes too much interest in the girl next door, these selections illustrate the ways in which a good story can electrify a reader.