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 Laura van den Berg
2014 O. Henry Award-winning Author

I can still remember the first time I read an O. Henry anthology. I was in college and had just started to write seriously. My professor had advised me to buy all the annual anthologies, to read and study the collected stories. At the time, the closest bookstore was a Borders in a shopping center. I remember going to the anthology section and my gaze falling on the spine of that year's O. Henry. I can remember pulling out the anthology and paging through the stories and thinking how impossible it felt to ever see a story of mine in such a hallowed place. Now the impossible has happened, as it occasionally does, and I could not be more honored or grateful.

(author photo © Peter Yoon)

Writing Tips

I write from fear and joy and shame and rage. I write to think and to hope and to play. I write in response to bewilderment and in response to wonder. In the best moments, the moments when I know I'm really going somewhere, I feel outside myself and outside time. Always I write in pursuit of that feeling

About the Author

Laura van den Berg is the author of the story collections The Isle of Youth and What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves, which was a Barnes & Noble "Discover Great New Writers" selection and shortlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Award. Her first novel, Find Me, is forthcoming in 2015. A Florida native, she lives in the Boston area.

Writer's Desk

I'm (always!) working on new stories.

Writer's Desk

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

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