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 Tash Aw
"Sail"
2013 O. Henry Award-winning Author

The O. Henry Prize Stories is always incredibly diverse, luminous, and probing, so it feels thrilling, and indeed validating, to be part of such a wonderful collection.

(author photo © Andrew Mills)


Writing Tips

Working in the short form exercises a different part of the novelist's brain: it's almost as if the short story tests whether you are truly a writer, or merely someone typing out a stack of pages in the hope that it forms something readable. I've always been interested in the way that things are put together—chairs, buildings, boats: I'm attracted to the workings of the artisan. In this way, I think writing shares much in common with the physical objects that fill our daily lives. When well constructed, they have the capacity to be emotionally moving, as well as being useful in some way. And I feel that aspects of craftsmanship and artistry are often easier to discern in a short story than in a novel, as if all that is superfluous and distracting is stripped away. Instinctively, I've always found the short form more challenging and intimidating than the novel, which is why I think I'm fascinated by it—for me, it has the lure of unattainable perfection.


About the Author

Tash Aw was born in Taipei to Malaysian parents and grew up in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. His fiction has won the Whitbread and Commonwealth Writers Prizes for best first novel, and been translated into 23 languages. His third novel is Five Star Billionaire. He lives in London.


Writer's Desk

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

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