Anchor Books The O. Henry Prize Stories
About the Series Widely regarded as the nation's most prestigious awards for short fiction
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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 Deborah Eisenberg
"Your Duck Is My Duck"
2013 O. Henry Award-winning Author

What does it mean to be included in the PEN/O.Henry Prize Stories? Plenty! You're sitting on your desert island, you compose a desperate message, you put it into a bottle and toss the bottle into the sea. Will someone receive the message? Will it make sense to anyone? Might it even delight someone? It is profoundly gratifying and fortifying to have work passed on from one real reader to another. Year after year this anthology passes along work that is fascinating, unexpected, elegant, original, moving; it's a pleasure to be in such company.

(author photo © Diana Michener)

Writing Tips

Writing fiction is hard to talk about, at least it is for me, as—at least for m—it's largely an effort to locate and give a form to the most ephemeral, subtle, and inchoate sorts of experience, the plasma of being human. It's what I do with a lot of my time, but I don't understand how it works at all. It's a very strange alloy of endless infuriating drudgery and pure magic.

About the Author

Deborah Eisenberg grew up in a suburb of Chicago and has lived in New York City for many, many years. She is a MacArthur Fellow, and teaches at Columbia University. The Collected Stories of Deborah Eisenberg won the 2011 PEN/Faulkner Award.

Writer's Desk

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

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