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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 Frederic Tuten
"Winter, 1965"
2016 O. Henry Award-winning Author

I'm honored to be included among the writers who have made up the distinguished history of the O. Henry Prize winners.

(author photo © Ania Gruca)


Writing Tips

Many of my thoughts about writing come from artists or from writers influenced by art.

Georges Simenon said: "An apple by Cézanne has weight. And it has juice, everything, with just three strokes. I tried to give to my words just the weight that a stroke of Cézanne's gave to an apple."

Gauguin said that when you go to make a drawing, hold the pencil light.

Poussin believed that a true line is closer to god than a cathedral. Actually, Poussin did not say that but I like to imagine that he would.

Picasso claimed he struggled all his life to be able to draw like a child again.

Roy Lichtenstein said, "The trouble is that when an artist goes to a canvas he or she already goes knowing what a work of art should look like."


Writer's Desk

The first part of my memoir—what I see as Volume 1—is about my growing up in the Bronx, and is centered around the year I dropped out of high school to become a painter and go to live in Paris. I never made it, at least not then.

It was in this year that I met the artist John Resko, a former twenty-year inmate of Dannermora and author of Reprieve, the memoir of his prison life and his rehabilitation. He became my mentor in literature and art and life, taking the place of my father, who had left our home when I was ten.

This is also the story of my wild teenage love for Faye, the "Bronx Elizabeth Taylor," and of my rivalry with Faye's other boyfriend, my contemporary, who would become a famous novelist and my life-long friend.

Resko pressed me to return to school, saying, "I have a high school equivalency degree and don’t want to hang out with dropouts." I finally graduated, took the entrance exams, and was accepted to the City College of New York, and my life out of the Bronx began. One day I would see Paris, but not as an artist, as a writer.

I'm also writing a series of personal essays; some are about my love affair when I was nineteen in Mexico City with "the Golden Girl," the famous exiled American prostitute of her day; my time crashing Hemingway’s house in Cuba a few months before Castro entered Havana; my two summers of team teaching in Tangiers with Paul Bowles; my friendships with the creator of Tintin, Georges Remi (Herge), and with the great film director, Alain Resnais; and my life in Mexico, Brazil, and in Paris.


About the Author

Frederic Tuten, Bronx born, has written about art, literature and film in several periodicals including Artforum, The New York Times, and Vogue; was an actor in the Alain Resnais movie L'An 01; taught with Paul Bowles in Morocco; and co-wrote the cult-classic film Possession. He earned a PhD in literature, three Pushcart Prizes, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and an Award for Distinguished Writing from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Tuten is the author of five novels: The Adventures of Mao on the Long March; Tintin in the New World; Tallien: A Brief Romance; Van Gogh's Bad Café; The Green Hour; and a book of inter-related short stories: Self Portraits: Fictions. He lives in New York City.


Writer's Desk

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

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  • 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
  • Shruti Swamy
  • Elizabeth Tallent

    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