A Literary Hat Trick for English's Graver

A Literary Hat Trick for English's Graver

By Stephen Gawlik
Staff Writer

Being included in one best-of-the-year anthology would be an achievement for any writer, but this year Assoc. Prof. Elizabeth Graver (English) is getting triple the honor.

Graver, who published her short story "The Mourning Door" last fall in the journal Ploughshares , recently learned that three publishers will be reprinting the work in anthologies to be released this fall.

"I guess it's pretty rare to be picked for all three of the 'best of the year' anthologies," said Graver. "Needless to say, I was surprised and delighted."

Best American Short Stories 2000 , Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards and The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses will each include "The Mourning Door," a surreal tale about a woman, burdened by the desire to become pregnant, who makes a series of surprising and cathartic discoveries scattered throughout her house.

The story takes its name from the special door traditionally used in removing the deceased from houses. As Graver explains, superstition held that the living and the dead could not use the same doors. She discovered a mourning door in the 18th century Lincoln farmhouse she and her husband bought more than two years ago, and became intrigued by the subject.

Graver has won critical acclaim in the past for her short stories and has published two well-received novels, Unravelling and The Honey Thief.

Among Graver's fans are her colleagues in the English Department.

"The anthologies she's been selected for are very prestigious and her inclusion in them is an indication of how established she is as a fiction writer in America," said Assoc. Prof. Suzanne M. Matson, a published novelist and poet herself. "She is well on her way to becoming an important writer."

Graver received another kind of recognition recently when her story "Surtsey," which originally appeared in the magazine DoubleTake last summer, was read by actress Maria Tucci at Symphony Space in New York City for an upcoming edition of the nationally syndicated National Public Radio program "Selected Shorts."

She became the youngest person to win the Drue Heinz Literature Prize when she was awarded the prestigious prize at age 26 in 1991 for her debut story collection, Have You Seen Me?

Graver is currently at work on her third novel.


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