In 1974-1975, Stephen Dixon received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 1977, both an O. Henry Award and a Pushcart Prize. He won an American Academy of Arts and Letters prize in 1983 and was awarded a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 1984. In 1986, Dixon won the John Train Humor Prize awarded by The Paris Review. His novel/stories Frog was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1991 and for the PEN/Faulkner Award in 1992; his novel Interstate was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1995. Dixon has had stories appear in Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards and The Best American Short Stories.
Boyd, Greg. “The Story’s Stories: A Letter to Stephen Dixon.” In Balzac’s Dolls, and Other Essays, Studies, and Literary Sketches. Dalphne, Ala.: Légèreté Press, 1987. An essay that discusses Dixon’s short-fiction themes and techniques in the form of a letter to him; argues that Dixon’s fiction is unique for its conversational intimacy and its rhythms of seemingly unmediated thought. Discusses themes and narrative devices in several stories; comments on how his books hold together as unified collections.
Ferguson, William. “Which Version Do You Prefer?” Los Angeles Times, September 4, 1994, p. 12. A review of The Stories of Stephen Dixon; comments on Dixon’s themes of the relations between the sexes, the plight of the individual in a hostile society, the unstable nature of truth. Argues that Dixon’s characters reinvent themselves in language that is often more substantial than they are; notes that many of his male characters become compulsive talkers when rejected by women.
Klinkowitz, Jerome. “Experimental Realism.” In Postmodern Fiction, edited by Larry McCaffery. New York: Greenwood Press, 1986. Comments on Dixon as an example of superrealism, which sees the limitations of its form as positive aids; briefly discusses Dixon’s story “Said,” which takes the redundant convention of identifying each line of a speaker and makes it a self-apparently opaque sign.
Klinkowitz, Jerome. The Self-Apparent Word: Fiction as Language/Language as Fiction. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1984. Claims that Dixon is able to take the most familiar narrative conventions and reinvest them with a sense of novelty new to contemporary realism; discusses these tactics in several stories, focusing on such self-reflexive devices as how stories need reshaping and how fictions are generated.
Passaro, Vince. “S.A.S.E.” The New York Times, Mary 16, 1999, p. 7. A review of Thirty: Pieces of a Novel and the collection of stories Sleep. Suggests that Dixon’s stories are strongly autobiographical and that his strength lies in the quick revelation of a rushing and exhibitionist prose. Discusses Dixon’s treatment of sexuality in his stories.
Salzman, Arthur. “To See a World in a Grain of Sand: Expanding Literary Minimalism.” Contemporary Literature 31 (1990): 423-433. Discusses Dixon as a writer who redefines minimalism as a set of ways of asking questions about the contemporary world; argues that, in Dixon’s fiction, what charges otherwise anonymous, menial jobs with interest is language—urban lingoes, inside dope, and coded cryptics.