Anchor Books The O. Henry Prize Stories
About the Series Widely regarded as the nation's most prestigious awards for short fiction
O. Henry Bio
Publishing History
Author Spotlight
Prize Jury
About the Editor
Notable Magazines
Index of Literary Magazines
Contact Us
Contact Us

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.

(Browse our author spotlight archive.)

Comments Russell Banks
"A Permanent Member of the Family"
2015 O. Henry Award-winning Author

Nearly a half-century has passed since the first time I had a story selected for The O. Henry Prize Stories, and it's as much of an honor now as it was then. For those of us who love the form and its history, it's an affirmation of our belief in the human necessity of the short story and its central role in the life of our literature, perhaps especially American literature. For those of us who write short stories, inclusion in the O. Henry annual is a validation of our efforts, which we especially treasure in a time when commercial publishers and mass media seem to have all-but-abandoned curating the short story, as if it's no long capable of showing us what it is to be human.

(author photo © Nancie Battaglia)

Writing Tips

The cells and neurons we use to write short stories seem to be located in a different quadrant of the brain than the cells and neurons we use to write novels—closer perhaps to the quadrant that generates poetry. I began as a teen-aged poet, but came to see that I had not the gift and soon turned instead to fiction. But my love of poetry remains, lyric poetry especially, a love I can best express by writing short stories.

About the Author

Russell Banks was born in Massachusetts. He is the author of eighteen works of fiction, including the novels Continental Drift, Rule of the Bone, and Lost Memory of Skin, as well as six short-story collections. Banks is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and was New York State Author (2004-2008). He lives in Miami, Florida, and in upstate New York.

Writer's Desk

I'm currently reworking a dozen travel essays written over the last thirty or forty years, expanding and personalizing them, linking them together in what I can only call a "travel memoir." I have a half-completed novel that I'm eager to return to and plans for three novellas, plus sketches for a half-dozen short stories.

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