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 Louise Erdrich
2014 O. Henry Award-winning Author

The short story is a powerful form. For me, it must have a poetic impulse, a compression of meaning. Many of my stories remain unfinished or don't go anywhere. To have a story included in the O. Henry collection elates me. Nero, you made it!

(author photo © Paul Emmel)

Author's Desk

Many novelists don't talk about what they are writing. I do long to talk about what I'm working on, but there is a risk. So often, when I roll out my idea, the person I've entrusted says, "You mean like Waiting for Guffman?" or "You mean like Shadow of the Wind? Love, Actually? Clockers? The Neverending Story?" My brain is suddenly bent and I feel like an idiot.

About the Author

Everything has been said but this, perhaps: I am at present waiting for my minivan to get fixed. The brakes had only a millimeter left. How could I have possibly let that happen unless I was distracted by writing? I try as hard as possible not to write the harrowing parts of my books from direct experience. I hope that now I'll have averted the "brakes going out" scenario.

About the Author

Louise Erdrich grew up in North Dakota and is a member of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Her most recent book The Round House won the 2012 National Book Award. Her other books include The Plague of Doves, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse, and The Master Butchers Singing Club. The owns Birchbark Books, a small independent bookstore in Minneapolis.

Writer's Desk

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

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