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 Sam Ruddick
2012 PEN/O. Henry Award-winning Author

It's an honor and a relief. I've been writing for a long time, and aside from placing the odd, occasional short story, I was beginning to think nothing would come of it.

(author photo © Deja Earley)

Writing Tips

I admire painters: Mark Rothko for the simplicity, intensity, and depth of emotion; Botticelli for the beauty of his figures and attention to detail.

About the Author

Sam Ruddick was born in 1971, in Chicago Heights, Illinois. His work has appeared in Glimmer Train, The Threepenny Review, and Prairie Fire. He is a graduate of the Center for Writers at University of Southern Mississippi and currently teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell. He received the Henfield Prize for fiction in 2007. He lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

Writer's Desk

I'm putting the finishing touches on a novel called I Say Your Name and It Ruins My Day.

Writing Tips

From "Leak" by Sam Ruddick

Stacy sat with us at the table while she waited for the water to boil. Peyton reached up, pulled the cord to the light on the ceiling fan, turning it on. I wished she hadn't.

"So what's going on here?" she asked.

Stacy said, "I had a lousy night at work. I wanted to meet you anyway."

Peyton nodded. I'd told her about Stacy, but more as a thing of the past. She didn't know we were still talking. At least not that often. "You guys talk a lot?" she asked.

Stacy winked. "Don't worry. All he ever talks about is you."

Peyton wasn't buying this. She raised her eyebrows.

"We used to date," Stacy said. "Off and on for years. Relationships like that are hard to let go of, you know? So we're still friends, but believe me, that's it. I could not be with him like that again."

"You're not exactly helping my cause here," I told her.

Writer's Desk

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