Anchor Books The O. Henry Prize Stories
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What does it mean to be included in the O. Henry Prize Stories? How does an author refine their art? We've given the O. Henry Prize-winning authors free rein to share their thoughts on these questions and others, and the result is a rare treat.

(Browse our archive of featured authors from The O. Henry Prize Stories.)


Comments Emma Törsz
"Word of Mouth"
2015 O. Henry Award-winning Author

When I found out I'd won an O. Henry award, I went straight to the Minneapolis Central Library and paid off the fines I had accrued when I'd first lived in the city five years before. The news of the award had made me feel magnificently mature, and I wanted to make a gesture to demonstrate that feeling. Also, my joy was already giving way to a frenetic anxiety that demanded I write harder, better, faster, stronger, and to do this I knew I'd need to take out lots of books. Reading-and-writing is a feedback loop that cannot and should not be closed, and it's a thrill to be included in an anthology that honors both.

(author photo © Maria Kostareva)


Writing Tips

Reading fiction as a child taught me how to recognize and construct narratives, and was my first lesson in making sense of a reality that might otherwise have crushed me with its hectic sentimentality. If you're known to write, at some point you'll be enduring an upsetting situation—a triple homicide across the street, a shouting match at a family gathering, heartbreak—and someone will invariably say to you, "Hey, at least you can use this!" And the comment may irritate you deeply at the time. But in the end, the idea of "using" my experiences is sometimes the only thing that gets me through them. The first time I felt real grief it was completely overwhelming, and even so there was a part of me that whispered, "Now you've felt it; now you know; now give it purpose." Writing, the world for me is vivid and charged. Every detail is important. Every conversation worthwhile.


Writer's Desk

I am working on a novel called Major Arcana, and slowly putting together a short story collection.


About the Author

Emma Törsz was born in Massachusetts, and received her MFA from the University of Montana, Missoula. Her stories have appeared in journals such as Ploughshares, Cincinnati Review, Narrative, and Salt Hill. She teaches and waits (tables) in Minneapolis, Minnesota.




Writer's Desk

Browse our archive of featured authors from this and other editions of The O. Henry Prize Stories.

  • Back to the Featured Author Spotlight




  • Writer's Desk

    From the 2015 edition:
    O. Henry Award-winning Authors
  • Molly Antopol
  • Russell Banks
  • Lydia Davis
  • Percival Everett
  • Lynn Freed
  • Becky Hagenston
  • Naira Kuzmich
  • Christopher Merkner
  • Elizabeth McCracken
  • Manuel Muñoz
  • Dina Nayeri
  • Brenda Peynado
  • Thomas Pierce
  • Emily Ruskovich
  • Lynne Sharon Schwartz
  • Lionel Shriver
  • Joan Silber
  • Elizabeth Strout

    From the 2014 edition:
    O. Henry Award-winning Authors
  • Allison Alsup
  • Chanelle Benz
  • David Bradley
  • Olivia Clare
  • Stephen Dixon
  • Halina Duraj
  • Louise Erdrich
  • Rebecca Hirsch Garcia
  • Mark Haddon
  • Tessa Hadley
  • Kirsten Iskandrian
  • Dylan Landis
  • Colleen Morrissey
  • Chinelo Okparanta
  • Michael Parker
  • Robert Anthony Siegel
  • Maura Stanton
  • William Trevor
  • Kirstin Valdez Quade
  • Laura van den Berg

    From the 2013 edition:
    O. Henry Award-winning Authors
  • Donald Antrim
  • Tash Aw
  • Andrea Barrett
  • Ann Beattie
  • L. Annette Binder
  • Ayşe Papatya Bucak
  • Deborah Eisenberg
  • Samar Farah Fitzgerald
  • Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
  • Nalini Jones
  • Kelly Link
  • George McCormick
  • Melinda Moustakis
  • Alice Munro
  • Derek Palacio
  • Jamie Quatro
  • Polly Rosenwaike
  • Asako Serizawa
  • Joan Silber
  • Lily Tuck

    From the 2012 edition:
    PEN/O. Henry Award-winning Authors
  • John Berger
  • Wendell Berry
  • Anthony Doerr
  • Dagoberto Gilb
  • Karl Taro Greenfeld
  • Lauren Groff
  • Yiyun Li
  • Hisham Matar
  • Alice Mattison
  • Steven Millhauser
  • Alice Munro
  • Ann Packer
  • Miroslav Penkov
  • Keith Ridgway
  • Sam Ruddick
  • Salvatore Scibona
  • Jim Shepard
  • Mark Slouka
  • Christine Sneed
  • Kevin Wilson

    From the 2011 edition:
    PEN/O. Henry Award-winning Authors
  • Chris Adrian
  • Adam Atlas
  • Kenneth Calhoun
  • Jennine Capó Crucet
  • Judy Doenges
  • Brian Evenson
  • Adam Foulds
  • Lynn Freed
  • David Means
  • Susan Minot
  • Matthew Neill Null
  • Lori Ostlund
  • Leslie Parry
  • Jim Shepard
  • Helen Simpson
  • Elizabeth Tallent
  • Mark Slouka
  • Lily Tuck
  • Brad Watson

    From the 2010 edition:
    PEN/O. Henry Award-winning Authors
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Kirstin Allio
  • Daniel Alarcón
  • Natalie Bakopoulos
  • Wendell Berry
  • George Bradley
  • Peter Cameron
  • Damon Galgut
  • James Lasdun
  • Alice Munro
  • Annie Proulx
  • Ron Rash
  • Jess Row
  • Preeta Samarasan
  • Ted Sanders
  • Lore Segal
  • Brad Watson
  • John Edgar Wideman

    PEN/O. Henry Recommended Story Authors
    From the 2010 edition:
  • Luther Magnussen
  • Daniel Orozco
    From the 2009 edition:
    PEN/O. Henry Award-winning Authors
  • Karen Brown
  • John Burnside
  • Junot Díaz
  • Viet Dinh
  • Andrew Sean Greer
  • Caitlin Horrocks
  • Ha Jin
  • Graham Joyce
  • Kirsten Sundberg Lunstrum
  • L. E. Miller
  • Alistair Morgan
  • Manuel Muñoz
  • Roger Nash
  • Mohan Sikka
  • Marisa Silver
  • E. V. Slate
  • Judy Troy
  • Paul Yoon

    PEN/O. Henry Recommended Story Authors
  • Mary Carroll-Hackett
  • Halina Duraj
  • Mary Beth Keane
  • Owen King
  • Rae Paris

    From the 2008 edition:
    O. Henry Award-winning Authors
  • Shannon Cain
  • Michel Faber
  • Mary Gaitskill
  • William Gass
  • Ha Jin
  • Sheila Kohler
  • Yiyun Li
  • Roger McDonald
  • Olaf Olafsson
  • Lore Segal
  • Brittani Sonnenberg
  • Rose Tremain
  • Tony Tulathimutte
  • Alexi Zentner

    O. Henry Recommended Story Authors
  • Kimberly Ford
  • Lauren Groff
  • Samuel Ligon
  • Irina Reyn

    From the 2007 edition:
  • Eddie Chuculate
  • Tony D'Souza
  • Ariel Dorfman
  • Jan Ellison
  • Adam Haslett
  • Charles Lambert
  • Richard McCann
  • Yannick Murphy
  • Christine Schutt
  • Joan Silber
  • Susan Straight

    From the 2005 edition:
  • Kevin Brockmeier
  • Timothy Crouse
  • Charles D'Ambrosio
  • Nell Freudenberger
  • Caitlin Macy
  • Ron Rash

    From the 2003 edition:
  • Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Anthony Doerr
  • Robyn Joy Leff
  • Douglas Light
  • Bradford Morrow
  • Edith Pearlman