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 Mary LaChapelle
"Floating Garden"
2017 O. Henry Award-winning Author

I thank the series editor for the willingness and fortitude to read so many, many stories—from the most august magazines to the humblest journals. Thanks for sifting out twenty gems for us each year and thanks for including one of mine in this edition, for introducing it to readers who otherwise would never read it.

(author photo © Elizabeth Wray)

Writing Tips

There is something in the original impulse or image or instance of writing a story that I return to and trust to guide me when, by and by, I feel lost writing it. And even when it's a mess in progress, I love that I can hold the whole of a short story's form in my head.

Writer's Desk

What am I working on now? I think that I've finished a collection of connected stories, which includes "Floating Garden." In the collection, there's a story about the migration of the monarch butterflies and its effect on the residents of a group home. Another story features a 1973 Saab 96, a character with a multiple personality, a Hmong Family, and Lesbian Al-Anon, and another starts with the discovery of a two-million-year old mother and child hominid in a lime pit in South Africa and ends with a Thanksgiving weekend blizzard and two sisters in a car buried upside down in the Wisconsin snow.

About the Author

Mary La Chapelle is the author of House of Heroes and Other Stories, and of stories and essays published by New River's Press, Atlantic Monthly Press, Redbook, Columbia Journal, Lumina, Passages North, News Day, The New York Times. She is a recipient of the PEN/Nelson Algren Award, Loft/McKnight grant, and a Whiting Foundation Award, as well as fellowships from the New York Foundation for the Arts, Hedgebrook, and the Edward F. Albee and Bush foundations. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in Bronxville, New York.

Writer's Desk

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

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