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 Shruti Swamy
"A Simple Composition"
2016 O. Henry Award-winning Author

When I am sitting at my desk, there is a voice now whispering in my ear: yes, yes, keep writing, someone is listening. Even beyond the incredible honor of having my story appear in these distinguished pages, and in such brilliant company, it is this precious feeling I am grateful for above all else.

(author photo © Abe Bingham)


Writing Tips

As I move deeper into my life as a writer, I've started to feel less like I'm constructing a story when I sit down to write, and more that I am listening: both to the particular diction and cadence of the voice that narrates, and also to the shape and turn of the story. Even when I am stuck or frustrated, writing has never stopped feeling like a miracle to me. Whose voice is this? Where does the story come from? In my best moments, I'm simply getting out of my own way.


Writer's Desk

I'm writing a novel set in Bombay in the late 60s and early 70s. "Utter" follows a ferociously ambitious young dancer who comes of age and political consciousness in one of the most tumultuous in the city's history. Usha loses her mother early to suicide: she cares for her increasingly unstable brother: all the while pursuing perfection—and later, fame—in her life as a kathak dancer. As she does, she is both witness and actor in her city's history, in a time of labor strikes, political upheaval, and utter transformation.


About the Author

Shruti Swamy's fiction has appeared in Prairie Schooner, Agni, Black Warrior Review, and New American Writing, and she has received residencies and fellowships from Hedgebrook, the Millay Colony for the Arts, Vassar College, and Kundiman. Shruti received her BA from Vassar College, and her MFA from San Francisco State University. Born in California, she lives and writes in San Francisco.


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 2016 edition:
    O. Henry Award-winning Authors
  • Wendell Berry
  • Marie-Helene Bertino
  • Ron Carlson
  • Adrienne Celt
  • Diane Cook
  • Robert Coover
  • Joe Donnelly
  • Rebecca Evanhoe
  • Lydia Fitzpatrick
  • Elizabeth Genovise
  • Charles Haverty
  • Geetha Iyer
  • David H. Lynn
  • Ottessa Moshfegh
  • Sam Savage
  • Asako Serizawa

    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
  • Emma Törsz
  • Vauhini Vara

    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