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 Keith Eisner
"Blue Dot"
2017 O. Henry Award-winning Author

I learned about my inclusion in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2017 late one afternoon. That night, thinking of all the fine writers who have won this prize in its almost 100-year existence, I could barely sleep. There must, I thought, be some mistake. The best thing about being included in such company is how it's redoubled discipline and dedication in my writing practice. Like, If they're inviting me to this party, I'm damn well going to earn it!

(author photo © Austin Lang)

Writing Tips

Writing is probably the most humbling and exalting thing I've ever done. Humbling, because on every page, I realize how much I don't know. I don't only mean don't know about writing (though that can fill a book) but how much I still have to learn about life—about seeing, hearing, tasting, and smelling life as it is, not as I wish it. Exalting, because of those rare and amazing moments when meaning and connection rise off the page, when some truth or beauty is touched, ever so briefly, in reader and writer alike.

Writer's Desk

After years of writing stories that were based on my long-ago youth, I'm delighted to be working on a tale of a couple of guys in their 60s—my age. In my desk are also a few stories I periodically return to, make a few marks, and shove back in the drawer—exactly what I did with Blue Dot before it finally saw the light of day. My motto: The best is yet to come.

About the Author

Keith Eisner teaches writing at his local senior center. He earned an MFA from Goddard College and lives in Olympia, Washington.

Writer's Desk

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