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 O. Henry Prize-winning authors free rein to share their thoughts on these questions and others, and the result is a rare treat.

(Browse our archive of featured authors from The O. Henry Prize Stories.)

Comments Charles Lambert

As an Englishman who has lived in Italy for most of his adult life, I didn't realise the full significance of the O. Henry Prize until I told some American friends my story had been selected. They immediately ordered champagne and have treated me with uninterrupted respect ever since. Now that I've done some research and discover that I'm in the company of some of the authors I most admire and love, people whose work has moved and awed and shaped me as a man and as a writer, I'm terrified that someone will find me out.

Writing Tips

What keeps me going as a writer is an empty screen and a sequence of words that insists on being written. I start, as often or not, with a sense of being dictated to, as Jack Spicer once said, of being a receiver in the way that a radio is. After that, the real work begins, above all with novels; the sheer hard slog, the half-blind groping and then the mad final rush towards the end, which makes the whole thing true, or not. But essentially I'm inspired by words, and then by the characters they make; finally, I'm surprised by the ideas they reveal to me as I write, engaged and anxious and perplexed; ideas that end up being mine, even when I don't agree with them.

About the Author

Charles Lambert was born in England, but has lived in Italy since 1980. His debut novel, Little Monsters, will be published by Picador in spring 2008. His stories have been, or are due to be, published in various anthologies, and print and online magazines, including New Writing 15, The James Harrington Gay Men's Fiction Quarterly, In Posse Review, and The Barcelona Review.

Writer's Desk

  • I finished a novel last year and now I'm going through that irritating phase of waiting for the next one to sneak up out of nowhere and make my life hell for the next two years. In the meantime, I'm revising stories, thinking about stories, starting stories and putting them to one side, making notes for stories. I'm writing stories.

  • Writer's Desk

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