series editor larry dark

  On this Web site you will find posted a list of O. Henry Award-winners from 1919 to the present. It has been my goal, since taking over as series editor for the O. Henry Awards, to post such information on the Internet. I had hoped to make this available as a searchable database, so users could generate their own sets of lists. That may happen in the months ahead. For now, I'm pleased to be able to present this information year by year in list form. From this data, I've also been able to generate and post:

A list of the most frequent award winners, a list of other notable O. Henry Award-winning authors, and a list of the magazines that have published prize-winning stories, ranked in descending order by number of selections.

A few notes and observations concerning the lists:

1. The only volume my assistant, Scott Conklin, and I were unable to get ahold of was the 1937 edition. When I do find it, I will add that year's stories to the listings. If anyone owns or has access to Prize Stories 1937: The O. Henry Awards, please contact me at: In exchange for photocopies of the contents pages, I will send you a copy of the 1999 edition.

2. While this series purports annually to select the best stories published, those knowledgeable about the short story will notice the omission of a great many notable stories that have gone on to become widely anthologized and celebrated. In early volumes of the series, lists of other stories considered for awards were presented (as they are now) and included many that have since become classics. In 1933, for instance, "A Clean, Well-Lighted Place" by Ernest Hemingway was listed in the back of the book but not selected. And Edith Wharton, one of America's greatest writers, never had a story chosen for the O. Henry Awards, though several were considered. Such glaring omissions aren't limited to the early days of the series. Over the course of 79 volumes, some of the greatest stories written and published in America have failed to make the cut. The reasons are obvious: the process of selecting stories is highly subjective and the editors who choose stories for annuals such as Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards are far from perfect. Beyond this is the truism that it is often difficult to recognize greatness in its own time and context. While those honored by inclusion in a given volume of the O. Henry Awards have every reason to feel proud, those writers not chosen can, I hope, take solace in the fact that great work has a history of being passed over and a single volume of this series is, by no means, the final word on what is good or important work.

Anyone who would like to point out some of the glaring omissions over the history of this series is encouraged to contact me at: Over the course of the year, I will compile a list from these suggestions to post on the Web. It would help to provide me with the year and the magazine such stories originally appeared in and to somehow support by reason the claim of glaring omission.

3. I hope this listing will prove valuable to scholars and helpful to curious readers. In the three years I've been editor of this series, I have been contacted by scholars and relatives of past winners looking for the kind of information that is now available free on this site. I would love some day to be able to post every story that has ever appeared in The O. Henry Awards (though rights and permissions may make this impractical), photos of and biographical information for prize-winning authors, and other interesting information pertaining to this series, such as a list of prize-winning stories made into films, accompanied by clips. For now, I'm pleased to be able to provide this (nearly) complete list of past O. Henry Award-winners. I urge the editors of other annual collections to follow suit so this valuable information will be available to readers.

-- Larry Dark
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Copyright © 1999 Larry Dark.