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 Joan Silber
"Two Opinions"
2013 O. Henry Award-winning Author

I was beginning a vacation in eastern Turkey, checking my email to make sure my dog was okay, when I got the great and astonishing news about being selected, which I carried with me as a private glow during the weeks away. When I came home, I found myself thinking about O. Henry the writer, whom I loved very dearly when I was young. I still have the omnibus volume of his fiction that I read in my early teens, with my father's signature on the flyleaf; I especially loved the stories about struggling shopgirls in New York. How pleased I would have been then to know my fate would cross his.

(author photo © Barry Goldstein)

Writer's Desk

I've just finished a collection of linked stories, Fools, six pieces that ask in different ways: when is it not foolish to be a fool for something? I keep swearing I won't do a book of linked stories again but I'm not sure what will be next.

About the Author

I began as a novelist and didn't turn to writing stories until later, which is a very backward way to proceed. And I love writing stories that cover long spans of time, which is odd of me, I know. But the story seems to me uniquely suited to illuminating the surprising shifts of then-and-now.

About the Author

Joan Silber was born in New Jersey. She is the author of six works of fiction, including The Size of the World (finalist for the Los Angeles Times Fiction Prize), Ideas of Heaven (finalist for the National Book Award and the Story Prize) and Household Words (winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award). Her latest collection is Fools, from which "Two Opinions" is taken, and which was longlisted for the National Book Award in 2013. She's also written a critical study, The Art of Time in Fiction. Her stories have been in two previous O. Henry collections, and she's received a Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and lives in New York City.

Writer's Desk

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