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 Heather Monley
"Paddle to Canada"
2017 O. Henry Award-winning Author

Having my work included in The O. Henry Prize Stories is an incredible honor. I'm still finishing my first book, which is a lonely experience at times. Being included in this collection, which has honored so many of my literary heroes, makes me feel like I'm a part of something, and like I've found the right path.

(author photo © Eric Lindley)

Writing Tips

My dad is a photographer, and he taught me the importance of cropping. A photograph seems like a simple documentation of its subject, but someone has chosen where to point the lens, how much to include, and what to cut out.
As a writer, I'm an uncertain photographer, who spends a lot of time messing with the zoom lens. Some idea catches my attention. It seems simple, but I can't get the picture quite right. I focus in, then expand out. Suddenly, some small part of the field catches my eye. That's the real story, I think, but I just need to find it from another angle. The finished picture is never what I imagined it would be.

Writer's Desk

I'm writing a collection of stories about myth-making, humans, animals, and things in-between.

About the Author

Heather Monley was born in San Jose, California. Her fiction has appeared in Crazyhorse and The Kenyon Review as winner of the 2013 Short Fiction Contest. She has an MFA from Columbia University and has received residencies from Lighthouse Works and PLAYA. She lives in Santa Clara, California.

Writer's Desk

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

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