Anchor Books The O. Henry Prize Stories
About the Series Widely regarded as the nation's most prestigious awards for short fiction
O. Henry Bio
Publishing History
Author Spotlight
Prize Jury
About the Editor
Notable Magazines
Index of Literary Magazines
Contact Us
Contact Us

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.

(Browse our author spotlight archive.)

Comments Kirstin Valdez Quade
2014 O. Henry Award-winning Author

Year after year, ever since I began taking this writing thing seriously, I've made a study of The O. Henry Prize Stories. The stories I found there have entertained and moved me, but mostly they've taught me what a story can be. It's an absolute dream to be included in these pages with writers I admire so deeply.

(author photo © Lydia Conklin)

Writing Tips

At its best, writing offers me the same complicated pleasure that reading offers: immersion in a world that isn't mine, exploration of the experiences of characters who aren't me. John Gardner says that good fiction draws the reader into a dream, so that he or she "reads about three words and drops into a sort of trance." When I sit down to work, I'm always seeking that feeling of immersion and loss of self. I don't always achieve it, but I always hold out hope that I will.

About the Author

Kirstin Valdez Quade was born in Albuquerque, NM, and lived all over the Southwest as a child. She was a Wallace Stegner and Truman Capote Fellow at Stanford University, and her fiction has appeared in The New Yorker, The Best American Short Stories 2013, Narrative, Guernica, The Best of the West 2010, and elsewhere. She won a 2013 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award, and has received fellowships and grants from Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, and the Elizabeth George Foundation. Her story collection and novel are forthcoming. She lives in the Bay Area.

Writer's Desk

I can't help thinking I'm tempting fate by talking about work in progress, so I'll keep it short: right now I'm working on a novel that centers on a fractured family in a fictional town in northern New Mexico. They're dysfunctional, but pretty nice people once you get to know them.

Writer's Desk

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

  • Back to the Featured Author Spotlight