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 Zebbie Watson
"A Single, Deliberate Thing"
2016 O. Henry Award-winning Author

It is such a thrill and an honor to be included in The O. Henry Prize Stories. It has certainly always been a dream, but not one I expected to come true so suddenly on a Saturday night, as I repeatedly refreshed my email in an effort to avoid a stubborn draft that was getting me down. What greater encouragement and validation could a young writer ask for?

(author photo © Juan Sebastian Camargo)


Writing Tips

I often fail at the act of physically writing words onto pages. I usually have to carry a story around in the back of my head for months or years, prodding it occasionally to keep it awake. The thrill and the joy come from finally reaching the point where the story demands to be written. I hardly feel wise enough to give advice, but one principle I live by is that there should always be more story in my head than on the page.  If I have the whole setting, back-story, and characters in my head, that will shine through in the details and the story will feel more true.   


Writer's Desk

I am always ruminating on a story, or four.


About the Author

Zebbie Watson is a writer and translator from Elverson, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College with degrees in English Literature and Spanish. Her stories have appeared in Breakwater Review and elsewhere, and she was the recipient of a 2016 Pushcart Prize. She lives in Athens, Georgia.


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
  • Shruti Swamy
  • Elizabeth Tallent
  • Frederic Tuten

    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