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 Manuel Muñoz
"The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA"
2015 O. Henry Award-winning Author

This is my second appearance in The O. Henry Prize Stories, and the news came at a time when I've been lacking in both concentration and confidence. I feel lucky that I even had the news at all to help ease some of the doubt about my artistic choices. I am very honored, especially at a time when stories of the people and the places that matter most to me rarely figure in the national literary conversation.

(author photo © 2011 by Stuart Bernstein)

Writing Tips

Reading has been saving me lately. I served as a judge for the PEN/Faulkner Prize last year and, for several months, I began every morning by opening a book. I appreciated the challenge of encountering so many variations in style, content, diction, and tone. The work took me away from my writing for a long time, but that was a good thing, given the room I needed to nurse some doubt. I liked how the enormous task of judging confirmed what one of my former Cornell professors, Ken McClane, always insisted: "Reading is writing." I liked how all of that reading reminded me to be fair and alert to how every book asks for something different. It affirmed my belief in curiosity and empathy.

Writer's Desk

I am working very slowly on a new collection of linked stories, set mostly in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Many of the stories are inspired by things that my parents have only recently revealed to me, so I'm doing a lot of listening as I learn some family history. I've also got a nonfiction project in the opening stages, about fatherhood, Mexico, and absences.

Writer's Desk

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

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