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 Nalini Jones
2013 O. Henry Award-winning Author

I've only written one book and I'm waist-deep in the next. So these days, when I think about writing, I'm not dreaming of anything as exalted as winning a prize; I'm just working my way from one sentence to the next and hoping something good comes of it. I've read these collections for years and delighted in them. To be in one? To find myself (even briefly) in the company of these other authors? It's an honor beyond anything I've ever quite imagined.

(author photo © Douglas Mason)

Writing Tips

I think what I'd like my students to know—and maybe my daughters too someday—is that for a long time this story was a failure. I failed and failed again, until even the ways I was failing began to teach me something. The story changed me, if only because it demanded such patience before I understood what must have happened, and how, and why. Suddenly I could move forward so swiftly that it seemed as if I had finished in a few hours what had actually taken me years to write.

About the Author

Nalini Jones was born in Rhode Island and grew up in Ohio and New England. She is the author of a story collection, What You Call Winter, and her fiction has appeared in the Ontario Review, Elle India, and One Story, among other publications. Her essays have been anthologized in AIDS Sutra, writings about HIV/AIDS in India, and in Freud's Blind Spot, a book about siblings. In 2012, she won the Pushcart Prize and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She lives in Connecticut.

Writer's Desk

I'm working on a novel that follows Essie and her husband Francis, the characters in "Tiger," into their old age. They live in a fictional neighborhood called Santa Clara, which is based on the real Catholic communities in Mumbai, and they become inadvertently connected to a young couple in one of the fishing villages along the city's coastline. I'm fascinated by these villages. They've lasted for hundreds of years but they've become susceptible to rapid change in the last few generations, in part because the bay no longer yields a decent catch.

Writer's Desk

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