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 Reason Is Because"
2017 O. Henry Award-winning Author

How can I be anything but overwhelmed and heartened by the news of being included once again in The O. Henry Prize Stories? It comes on the eve of a historic election, one that began with one candidate openly denigrating my community on the day he announced his candidacy. I've been sitting with how much this matters to the greater American public. Sometimes, it seems like people remember. Other times, the forgetfulness is loud and strong. It means a lot these days to feel included and embraced by anyone, to be taken seriously, to be thought of as a welcome part of things.

(author photo © Stuart Bernstein)

Writing Tips

I believe, more firmly than ever, that to pursue the short story as a form is an opportunity to give one more facet, one more dimension, one more layer of complexity, to the community that raised and supported me. If I don't participate in speaking to the experiences of my parents, of my tíos and tías, I fear that their histories will not be recorded.

Writer's Desk

I am halfway through a collection of stories, set mostly in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Once again, nearly all of them will either begin or end in California's Central Valley.

About the Author

Manuel Muñoz was born in Dinuba, California, in 1972. He is the author of a novel, What You See in the Dark, as well as two short-story collections, Zigzagger and The Faith Healer of Olive Avenue, which was shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award. The recipient of a Whiting Award, he lives and works in Tucson, Arizona.

Writer's Desk

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

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