Photo: Robin Mayes

George Saunders ’81 was selected for the inaugural Folio Prize, the first major literary award singling out ‘the best English-language fiction’ in the world. Sponsored by the London-based Folio Society, the $67,000 prize went to Saunders for his collection of short stories ‘Tenth of December’ (Bloomsbury; 2013). Margaret Atwood, Salman Rushdie and Anne Tyler were among the 100 members of the Folio Prize Academy responsible for nominations.

“George Saunders’s stories are both artful and profound. Darkly playful, they take us to the edge of some of the most difficult questions of our time,” said judge Lavinia Greenlaw. Earlier in March, the Chisholm Foundation awarded ‘Tenth of December’ its highly coveted Story Prize. In 2013, the New York Times Magazine proclaimed it ‘the best book you’ll read this year,’ and Time magazine included Saunders on its list of ‘the 100 most influential people’ for 2013. Saunders received the $500,000 MacArthur Fellowship, aka the genius grant, in 2006. Saunders teaches at Syracuse University in New York.

(To learn more, read our story in the fall 2012 issue,’Exploring Human Landscapes.‘)