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 Vauhini Vara
"I, Buffalo"
2015 O. Henry Award-winning Author

I've been reading The O. Henry Prize Stories since high school; it was one of my earliest introductions to short stories. One of the thrills of being a writer among writers is that, over the past several years, I've been able to pick up the anthology each year and see the names of friends (and my husband!) in the table of contents. I hope it's not too vain to admit, though, that there's a different kind of thrill when the name is your own. I like imagining some high-school kid reading "I, Buffalo" and being like, "Hey—I could do this, and better than she did!"

(author photo © Andrew Altschul)

Writing Tips

Lately, I've been tired of talking about my own writing and would rather think about other people's books. Here are some that I've recently loved and that everyone should read so we can talk about them together: the Neapolitan series—My Brilliant Friend, The Story of a New Name, and Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay—by Elena Ferrante; Family Life by Akhil Sharma; The Member of the Wedding and The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers; Random Family by Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, The Ghost Writer by Philip Roth, For a Song and a Hundred Songs by Liao Yiwu; Conversations in the Cathedral by Mario Vargas Llosa, We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, and Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker.

Writer's Desk

I'm working on a collection of short stories that contains "I, Buffalo" and other tales of people trying, with mixed success, to connect with one another. I'm also working on a novel about a Steve Jobs-style tech mogul who has a fall from grace and dies with a tarnished reputation; his daughter—who happens to be an android he has invented in secret—is telling the story of his, and her, life, in an effort to redeem his legacy.

About the Author

Vauhini Vara was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, and was raised mostly in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and in suburbs of Oklahoma City and Seattle. Vara is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and has been in residence at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. Her short stories have been published in ZYZZYVA, Glimmer Train, and elsewhere. Vara writes for the website of The New Yorker, and was a reporter at the Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade. Her journalism has been anthologized in Dogfight at the Pentagon, a collection of Page One features from the Journal. She lives in Colorado.

Writer's Desk

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

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