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 Michelle Huneven
"Too Good to Be True"
2017 O. Henry Award-winning Author

Since college, where I became a writer, I have read many, perhaps most of the O. Henry Prize collections with admiration and interest—and also with yearning and resolve that something I wrote could someday make the grade. And here it is: the lovely inclusion. I am delighted and grateful—for the honor, and because it gives the story new legs and another readership.

(author photo © Christian Thomas)

Writing Tips

I know I'm a novelist because too often when I start a short story I have 10 or 12 characters in play by page 3. Also, I don't grasp moments. I can't seem to contain them or isolate them from previous or subsequent moments. Epiphanies I understand somewhat more, but where build them from? I've rarely been able to slice life in fine enough sections for short stories, and I'm far too fond of the flashback, the big no-no in every genre, but especially (unless a writer is tremendously deft, like Chekhov or Alice Munro) in stories. Two of my novels began as short stories. That said, I love writing stories: the compression, the puzzle of each one, the way every detail must pay its way, the pressure to create an inhabited world in so few strokes.

Writer's Desk

I am working on a new novel, a collection of stories, and an article about chickpea soup.

About the Author

Michelle Huneven was born and raised in Altadena, California. She is the author of four novels. Round Rock, Jamesland, Blame, and Off Course. Blame was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. She has received a GE Younger Writers Award, a Whiting Award for Fiction, and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. She teaches creative writing to undergraduates at UCLA and lives in Altadena, California.

Writer's Desk

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