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.
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Rebecca Evanhoe "They Were Awake" 2016 O. Henry Award-winning Author
When I taught fiction, I assigned the most recent O. Henry Prize Stories as required reading. I chose to teach the O. Henry stories because they reliably demonstrate innovation in form, voice, and so on. I wanted to expose my students to the experience of reading modern, inventive text. In other words, I admired the O. Henry Prize Stories and found great value in them. It's an honor to have my work in this year's anthology.
For me, writing is either effortless or excruciating. The effortless stories come out pretty whole and are straight-forward to tighten up. This rarely happens. Most of my stories come out in a pile and require extreme revision. Revising your messes is the most important part of writing because you learn from it. It shapes you and sets up the conditions for one of those rare stories to come out.
More stories. I like to have a few in progress at a time.
Rebecca Evanhoe was born in Wichita, Kansas. Her stories have appeared in Harper's, Gulf Coast, Bat City Review, New World Writing, Gigantic, NOON, and elsewhere. She earned her MFA from the University of Florida, and lives in Gainesville, Florida.
Browse our archive of featured authors from this and other editions of The O. Henry Prize Stories.