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 Roger McDonald
O. Henry Award-winning Author

Being included in The O. Henry Prize Stories 2008 means several things. The honor and satisfaction of being chosen as one among so many, and the opportunity to be read more widely--through sparking interest in my other writing: seven novels and two books of nonfiction. Australian writers are not well-known in the USA. I have one novel in print in your country, Mr. Darwin's Shooter.

(author photo © Courtesy of the Author)


Writing Tips

As a reader I like the generosity of the short story form, the way it donates a whole world in a few pages. As a writer I turn to the short story out of emotional necessity, when a feeling just has to come out, as subject, rather than being shared and dramatized through the cast of characters demanded by the novel. I refine my work by going over my drafts almost to the point of exhaustion, until what remains really needs to be said.

"The Bullock Run" came from trying to express what it means to be the father of daughters, the almost inchoate love a man has for his children.



About the Author

Roger McDonald was born at Young, New South Wales, in 1941. He is the author of seven novels, including 1915, Water Man, The Slap, and Mr. Darwin's Shooter, and two books of nonfiction, The Tree in Changing Light and Shearers' Motel, an account of traveling through the Australian outback with a team of New Zealand sheep-shearers. His 2006 novel, The Ballad of Desmond Kale, won Australia's foremost fiction prize, the Miles Franklin Award. He lives near Braidwood, on the Southern Tablelands of New South Wales.


Writer's Desk

  • I am finalizing a collection of long stories about the lives of men, where the hero of one story is the villain of the next. I'm about nine-tenths there, then I'll be able to return to a novel I've been working on for about a year, but what that is about I am reluctant to say, in case the inspiration evaporates in a few words (as I've found it to do).


  • Writer's Desk

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