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 John Edgar Wideman
2010 PEN/O. Henry Award-winning Author

To be loved or to win the lottery one needs, among other things, to be lucky—whatever the mysterious other things might be when it comes to winning a literary prize, I won't attempt to comment upon, but I am certainly grateful for the luck that gets me included in the prestigious PEN/O.Henry collection.

To be included in the PEN/O. Henry Prize stories means more readers—maybe some new readers of my work—what more could an author ask for.

(author photo © Jean-Christian Bourcart)

Writing Tips

I have been writing for a long time—I really don't think of it as writing anymore but as who I am and what I do—as Chester Himes said: "A fighter fights, a writer writes"—maybe it is not that simple—but if I stopped writing today, I would not be a writer—I would be someone who wrote books once upon a time—writing is about doing the work daily, internally, as well as externally, without cease.

About the Author

John Edgar Wideman was born in 1951 in Washington, DC. He is the author of more than twenty works of fiction and nonfiction, including the award-winning Brothers and Keepers, Philadelphia Fire, and most recently the story collection God's Gym. He is the recipient of two PEN/Faulkner Awards as well as the Katherine Anne Porter Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters, and has been nominated for the National Book Award. He teaches at Brown University. Wideman divides his time between New York City and France.

Writer's Desk

  • Presently I am collecting my micro-stories into a book, and finishing, I think, a novel about Louis Till, the father of Emmett Till

  • Writer's Desk

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