Anchor Books The O. Henry Prize Stories
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About the Editor

2007

When he received his author's copy of the O. Henry Prize Stories 2007, Ariel Dorfman sent a note: "Thanks for making me part of this wonderful intellectual adventure." At a bookstore reading recently, Mr. Dorfman read from his own story, "Gringos," and from the beginnings of several other stories in the O. Henry 2007, sharing with the audience his enthusiasm for the collection and his generosity toward the work of other writers.

Although the lives of writers are filled with competition--literal and emotional--there are also many ways in which those lives are linked. Bay Anapol ("A Stone House") and Eddie Chuculate ("Galveston Bay, 1826") were Wallace Stegner Fellows at Stanford University at the same time, and their O. Henry stories appeared in the same issue of Manoa. Authors Christine Schutt ("Duchess of Albany") and Joan Silber ("War Buddies"), and a juror, Lily Tuck, were National Book Award nominees in 2004. Lily Tuck won, and many of us will long remember the year in which three fine women writers were recognized and celebrated.

Discovering these personal and professional coincidences is part of my adventure in editing the O. Henry each year. Out of the many stories published in the over two hundred magazines submitting to the O. Henry Prize Stories, I find twenty stories, read and re-read them over time, and make a final selection. The three jurors read the stories and each finds a favorite. The authors write about the process of writing their stories. As I write the introduction, the links between writers and stories begin to appear. Finally, the collection makes its way to its readers, who will find links of their own to the stories.

As I write this, I'm selecting the stories for the O. Henry Prize Stories 2008, starting another web of coincidence and connection among stories and writers, and--most important of all--between story and reader.

--Laura Furman
Austin, Texas
May 16, 2007
(Copyright © 2007 Laura Furman)

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(photo © Ave Bonar)