Anchor Books The O. Henry Prize Stories
About the Series Widely regarded as the nation's most prestigious awards for short fiction
O. Henry Bio
Publishing History
Author Spotlight
Prize Jury
About the Editor
Notable Magazines
Index of Literary Magazines
Contact Us
Contact Us

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.

(Browse our author spotlight archive.)

Comments Zebbie Watson
"A Single, Deliberate Thing"
2016 O. Henry Award-winning Author

It is such a thrill and an honor to be included in The O. Henry Prize Stories. It has certainly always been a dream, but not one I expected to come true so suddenly on a Saturday night, as I repeatedly refreshed my email in an effort to avoid a stubborn draft that was getting me down. What greater encouragement and validation could a young writer ask for?

(author photo © Juan Sebastian Camargo)

Writing Tips

I often fail at the act of physically writing words onto pages. I usually have to carry a story around in the back of my head for months or years, prodding it occasionally to keep it awake. The thrill and the joy come from finally reaching the point where the story demands to be written. I hardly feel wise enough to give advice, but one principle I live by is that there should always be more story in my head than on the page. If I have the whole setting, back-story, and characters in my head, that will shine through in the details and the story will feel more true.

Writer's Desk

I am always ruminating on a story, or four.

About the Author

Zebbie Watson is a writer and translator from Elverson, Pennsylvania. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College with degrees in English Literature and Spanish. Her stories have appeared in Breakwater Review and elsewhere, and she was the recipient of a 2016 Pushcart Prize. She lives in Athens, Georgia.

Writer's Desk

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

  • Back to the Featured Author Spotlight