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 Diane Cook
2016 O. Henry Award-winning Author

Anthologies like the O. Henry were my introduction to the freedom of reading stories, where I could browse a book, dip in and out, read until I realized I had been looking for something and there it was, a single story by a single author somewhere in the middle of this great, wide-reaching collection. It's such an honor to be included and to imagine someone dipping in and out of the anthology like I've always done, and discovering something I wrote in the mix.

(author photo © Jorge Just)

Writing Tips

I try to write in such a way where I can keep surprising myself. I often start with an idea but not too much of an idea. If I keep my mind racing just in front of the pace of my fingers I feel utter delight in what they type out. The best feeling I have when I'm writing is something akin to me saying to my brain, Oh, no, you didn't! And then my brain saying back, Oh, yes. I did.

Writer's Desk

I'm writing a novel about people who live in the wilderness. I don't know if you've heard, but writing a novel is very different from writing a story. It took some getting used to but I'm enjoying the stage I'm in, where the task of writing feels endless, but also kind of raucous and freewheelin'.

About the Author

Diane Cook is the author of the story collection Man V. Nature, and was formerly a producer for the radio show, This American Life. Man V. Nature was a finalist for the Believer Book Award and the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction, received Honorable Mention for the Pen/Hemingway Award, and was long-listed for the Guardian First Book Award. She was awarded the 2012 Calvino Prize for fabulist fiction. Her stories have appeared in Best American Short Stories, and in Harper's, Tin House, Granta, and elsewhere. She lives in Oakland, CA.

Writer's Desk

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

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