Anchor Books The O. Henry Prize Stories
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About the Editor


In mid-August, a small package arrived, looking as though it had been dropkicked all the way from New York to Austin. The package contained two advance copies of The O. Henry Prize Stories 2015. The book's contents were familiar—I'd read every word more than twice. The novelty was the book itself, starting with the cover.

Mark Abrams has designed the O. Henry covers since 2006. When I had seen his color choices for this year's cover, I had thought they were tasteful and even subdued. The book I took from the package was subdued and tasteful but it sparkled too, and the white type on the blue medallion reminded me of a sailboat in summer on a blue bay.

Admiring the cover made me think of all the people involved in our book: compositor, proofreader, copyeditor, production editor, manuscript editor, series editor, permissions and contracts, publicist, the sales force, webmaster, and the huge superstructure running the corporation of which Anchor Books is a part. In many ways, making a book is as collaborative an enterprise as making a movie. As in the film industry, only a few names are well-known. It takes a lot of trained and professional people caring about their work to make a fine book, one that can be read without halting for mistakes of language, typography, printing, and production. All our work is for the reader's ease, enjoyment, and—if we're lucky—enlightenment.

The enlightenment part comes from the stories themselves. In publishing, writers are called "authors," which once sounded a little formal and awkward. Now I appreciate the word; it acknowledges the writers' part in the production of our book, which is, after all, year after year, a place to honor their work.

The website for The O. Henry Prize Stories 2015 gives our readers more information about our authors and more from the authors themselves. Throughout the next year, new Author Spotlights will be added periodically, each containing the author's thoughts on writing in general, being included in The O. Henry Prize Stories, and work in progress. Many authors are superstitious or just cautious and won't talk about unfinished work, while others are eager to share their new ideas.

It's my hope on behalf of everybody who had a hand in producing The O. Henry Prize Stories 2015 that in the all-important role of reader you find stories that make you a part of the author's world.

Laura Furman
Austin, Texas
September 2015

(Copyright © 2015 Laura Furman)

Read Laura Furman's introduction to The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2015.

Read previous editor's notes from:
(photo © Ave Bonar)


Laura Furman was born in New York, and educated in New York City public schools and at Bennington College. Her first story appeared in The New Yorker in 1976, and since then her work has appeared in Yale Review, Southwest Review, Ploughshares, American Scholar, and other magazines. Her books include three collections of short stories, two novels, and a memoir. She's the recipient of fellowships from the New York State Council on the Arts, Dobie Paisano Project, Guggenheim Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Series Editor of The O. Henry Prize Stories since 2002, she taught for many years at the University of Texas at Austin. Her new collection of stories, The Mother Who Stayed, was published in 2011.