Leads creative writing at the university.
Leads creative writing at the university.

Courtney Zoffness among six writers vying for the prize.

March 2018 – The director of Drew University’s creative writing program is a finalist for The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.

Courtney Zoffness’ “Peanuts Aren’t Nuts” is among six stories short-listed for the prize—the world’s richest for a single short story. Past winners include Junot Díaz, Kevin Barry, Anthony Doerr and Yiyun Li. This year’s winner will be named April 26 during a black tie ceremony at Stationers’ Hall in London.

Zoffness finds herself in select company, having advanced from a long list of 15 and an initial pool of some 810 entries.

To get this far, is a “huge honor and tremendously flattering,” Zoffness said. “Previous finalists and winners? I mean, these are many of my literary heroes. I feel a lot of gratitude.”

Peanuts Aren’t Nuts” is already a winner: In 2016, it won the Fiction Contest of The American Literary Review. At the time, judge Merritt Tierce described it as a “fine story, told in bright sentences that catch and thrum, has a clever heart that arouses hope and makes it wear a darkness. That is to say: it feels so true.”

Zoffness, an assistant professor of English, began teaching at Drew in 2012. Beyond the creative writing program, she coordinates the Writers@Drew reader series and advises Insanity’s Horse, Drew’s art and literary magazine.

Writers@Drew, co-sponsored by The Casement Fund and English Department, enables students to meet world-class professionals who read their work and answer questions. Past speakers include Jacqueline Woodson, Mary Gaitskill, Colum McCann and Díaz, who appeared in January.