Kent Nelson is the 2014 winner of the Drue Heinz Literature Prize, one of the nation's most prestigious awards for a book of short fiction. Mr. Nelson's manuscript, "Spirit Bird: Short Stories," was selected by author David Guterson ("Snow Falling on Cedars") from a field of 350 entries. The collection will be published by the University of Pittsburgh Press this fall.
" 'Spirit Bird' indicates a seasoned talent at work," Mr. Guterson said. "It's a collection set in disparate geographies and touching on disparate lives, but it explores consistently the terrain of loneliness and yearning. One of its more impressive features is the way it artfully balances saying too much with saying too little."
"Writing stories for me is exploration and discovery," said Mr. Nelson. "I started all these stories with a character in a place and figured out from there where the story might go. This required writing the first page 10 or so times, often more, as I made new decisions about the character and what might happen."
A Cincinnati native, Nelson lives in Ouray, Colo.