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 Joe Donnelly
"Bonus Baby"
2016 O. Henry Award-winning Author

The O. Henry Prize Stories collection is something I have read and revered most of my adult life, particularly in my formative years as both a reader and writer. If you told 30-year-old me that I'd end up in this collection, I wouldn't have believed I'd have such good fortune. It's still hard to believe. It's such an honor to be included and a wonderful validation of a story that I had a lot of affection for, but wasn't sure how it would play out in the world.

(author photo © Henry Cherry)

Writing Tips

Writing is the worst. I'd much rather be surfing! Every time I step up to a story, I feel like a fraud and an absolute beginner. I don't know why anyone does this except that storytelling is oxygen for the soul and having written seems to make the pain of writing worth it. The pain is temporary, the gain of a good story is forever. The only advice about writing that I feel comfortable dispensing is that once you find the mood and rhythm of a story, ride it to the finish. You can always go back and address the rest of the story's needs—plot, conflict, character development, etc.—but without a good groove, it's not going to move.

Writer's Desk

I'm working on compiling a collection of my journalism and, hopefully by the time this comes out, a memoir based on my stories about following, literally and figuratively, the incredible travels of the great gray wolf OR7 (known as Journey to his fans), who, in late 2011, became the first wild wolf to live in California in nearly 100 years.

About the Author

Joe Donnelly was born in Syracuse, NY. He is a journalist and fiction writer. He lives in Los Angeles, 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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