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 authors of the winning and recommended stories free rein to share their thoughts on these questions and others, and the result is a rare treat.

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Comments Donald Antrim
"He Knew"
2013 O. Henry Award-winning Author

It is a pleasure and an honor to have a story included in The O. Henry Prize Stories, which, to my mind, is a great resource for readers, and which, year in and year out as time goes on, stands as a kind of formal record and archive of past works by accomplished writers. This is a valuable series, and I imagine that one of its more important jobs is putting work in front of readers who may not know a particular author or a particular book. It's a good thing.

(author photo © Ulf Andersen/Getty Images)

Writing Tips

For the last several years, I've been writing stories, though there is a novel in the background, something begun years ago. Not much of the manuscript is written. It is never quite possible for me to know or say what something of mine, novel or story, is really about—even when finished—and that is the case here. I can say that the work of T. S. Eliot, obscure Appalachian folk remedies, alcoholism, handmade shoes, and psychological breakdown are, so far, features of the manuscript.

About the Author

Donald Antrim is the author of three novels, Elect Mr. Robinson For a Better World, The Hundred Brothers, and The Verificationist; and a memoir, The Afterlife. He contributes fiction and non-fiction to The New Yorker, and is a past recipient of awards from, among others, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He was born in Sarasota, Florida, in 1958, and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Writing Tips

From "He Knew" by Donald Antrim

When he felt good, or even vaguely a little bit good, and sometimes even when he was not, by psychiatric standards, well at all, but nonetheless had a notion that he might soon be coming out of the Dread, as he called it, he insisted on taking Alice to Bergdorf Goodman, and afterward for a walk along Fifty-seventh Street, to Madison, where they would turn—this had become a tradition—and work their way north through the East Sixties and Seventies, into the low Eighties, touring the expensive shops. He was an occasional clotheshorse himself, of course, at times when he was not housebound in a bathrobe.

Writer's Desk

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