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 O. Henry Prize-winning authors free rein to share their thoughts on these questions and others, and the result is a rare treat.

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Comments Christine Schutt

The O. Henry Prize honors the writer and the magazine (in my case, "Noon") that thought to publish the writer's story. The notice of inclusion in the 2007 anthology made me smile--still makes me smile. The O. Henry anthology is recognized and read, which means those of us fortunate enough to appear in any edition will have a larger audience. I am very happy to be a part of this tradition and in the company of so many fine past and present O. Henry Prize writers.

(author photo © David Kersey)

Writing Tips

Like most writers I know, the workday is good when the words come out right and furiously; also, like most writers I know, this is not accomplished every day although one writes every day. Writing a fine sentence does not make writing the next any easier, but no other work is as satisfying. Finding more time in which to do it is the challenge.

For inspiration? Memory is behind everything but practically speaking, reading, the discovery of books which excite and provoke, words and lines from these same books can put a story in motion. I am most often fed by poets, contemporary living poets as well as the Great Dead. And when books fail, simply walking in the world. Emerson, in his essay, "The American Scholar," ranked inspirational sources with Books in the middle, Nature first and Living last, but I find to be in life is most often to be in nature. Light, especially afternoon light, unfailingly moves me.

About the Author

Christine Schutt is the author of two short story collections and a novel, Florida, which was a National Book Award finalist. She lives and teaches in New York City.

Writer's Desk

  • On one side of my desk is a long something or other, most likely a novella, and on the other side of the table is a novel. When these longer projects fail to fully engage me, I fiddle around in search of a new story. The novel is furthest along. I am too superstitious to say more.

  • Writer's Desk

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