SFI Miller Scholar Ted Chiang is the winner of the 2024 PEN/Bernard and Ann Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story. Chiang's short science-fiction stories have won multiple Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. (image: Kate Joyce for SFI)

SFI Miller Scholar Ted Chiang is the winner of the 2024 PEN/Bernard and Ann Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story, the PEN/Faulkner Foundation announced on June 11. Since 1988, the PEN/Malamud award has recognized writers who demonstrate “dedication to the craft of the short story and whose stories are exceptionally well-realized.”

“Ted Chiang’s stories are an absolute wonder to behold,” said PEN/Malamud Award Committee Chair Jung Yun in a statement. “Not only do they demonstrate his exceptionally high standards for creativity and construction, they also invite readers to think, imagine, and explore unique worlds beyond their own.”

Chiang has published two collections of short stories — Stories of Your Life and Others, whose title story was the basis for the Oscar-nominated film Arrival; and Exhalation, selected by the New York Times for its “10 Best Books of 2019.” His stories use exquisite narrative, captivating characters — human and non — and engaging thought experiments to explore the nature of reality. As a PEN/Malamud Award recipient, Chiang joins a list of acclaimed writers that includes, most recently, Edwidge Danticat, Yiyun Li, and Charles Baxter.

“I cannot overstate how surprised and delighted I am to be a recipient of the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in the Short Story,” Chiang told the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. “The short story has played a central role in the history of science fiction; I grew up reading anthologies where every story contained a different world, and I feel privileged to be a part of science fiction’s growing acceptance in the wider literary world. As a writer I appreciate the way the short story allows me to focus on a single idea or moment, and it’s wonderful to receive an award that celebrates the form.”

SFI’s Miller Scholarship — the Institute’s most prestigious visiting position — invites highly accomplished, creative thinkers to pursue scholarship on any topic. Since joining SFI as a Miller Scholar in 2022, Chiang has participated in several workshops and working groups. Most recently, he co-hosted a meeting with SFI Professor Christopher Kempes on Thought Experiments in Science and Fiction. Chiang currently holds the Miller Scholarship along with Tom McCarthy and Andrea Wulf.