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.

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Comments Charles D'Ambrosio

I look forward to the arrival of the O. Henry at local bookstores the way I anticipate the rain in the Northwest or the ritual of rolling a sheet of paper into a typewriter--they all feel like a kind of rightness to me, a kind of inclusion. But here I guess I'm talking about the O. Henry as a reader, not a writer. To have a story included is an honor, mostly because of all the people who've been honored before me; it's great to be part of that history and to contribute, in some small way, to a future in which the next round of writers who are selected will feel that the honor still resonates. Mostly, though, it's about readers, that greater inclusion beyond a small circle of writers that we all hope is out there.

(author photo © Courtesy of the Author)

Writing Tips

Read a lot, practice daily, don't quit, pursue your errors until they yield up the truth. That's about it for me as far as real, meaningful tips go, but here's a thing I try to keep in mind during the composition of a story: don't write out of your civilized self, the self who goes to restaurants and knows which fork to use, the self who's so ambitious about holding the right opinions on every subject under the sun, the self who went to college and panted after passing grades--leave that upright citizen at the voting booth. There has to be something truer than that.

About the Author

Charles D'Ambrosio is the author of The Point and Other Stories; Orphans, a book of essays; and, forthcoming, The Dead Fish Museum, a collection of stories. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

Writer's Desk

  • I'm working on a story about the death of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, an old dreamy obsession of mine.

  • Writer's Desk

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