"The stories in Out Loud are just awfully damn good," says Scott Turow. The federal prosecutor turned writer of best-selling legal thrillers (Presumed Innocent) was among the Drue Heinz Literature Prize judges who chose the collection, by Anthony Varallo, as winner of the prestigious annual contest for a book of short stories.
Out Loud (University of Pittsburgh Press), Varallo's second collection, opens with "In the Age of Automobiles," a pitch-perfect rendition of a winterbound hour a needy (and nerdy) teen-ager spends with a needier (and nerdier) teacher. There's also "The Walkers," a sly critique of suburbia narrated in the tricky first-person singular.
Varallo teaches at the College of Charleston, in South Carolina. He and Turow both appear at tonight's Drue Heinz Literature Prize Reading and Award Ceremony.
Drue Heinz Literature Prize Reading 7:30 p.m. Wed., Oct. 15. Frick Fine Arts Auditorium, Schenley Drive, Oakland. Free. 412-624-6506