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.

(Browse our author spotlight archive.)


Comments Elizabeth Genovise
"Irises"
2016 O. Henry Award-winning Author

I have read many volumes of The O. Henry Prize Stories, but the one that stands out most in my mind is the 2008 compilation, which included Alexi Zentner's story, "Touch." I was about to complete my MFA program at the time, and read the story in the unlikely location of a dock on the Calcasieu River in southwest Louisiana. I cried. I slept with the book in my arms. I read it out loud in a moving vehicle to a friend. Such is the power of the stories chosen for this prize. It is an incredible honor to me to have a story situated in the same literary hemisphere as the authors who have graced these volumes over the years. It has incited me to work harder and to give more.

(author photo © Chris Hodges)


Writing Tips

I have an almost religious faith in the power of the short story. As an art form it can shatter us, enlighten us, galvanize us into action. In my opinion, the best and truest stories out there are those that are deeply devoted to character. Great writers engage in an act of submission in the process of composing stories, overcoming the temptation to share the spotlight with their characters.


Writer's Desk

I am always writing short stories. I rarely think ahead in terms of, "How will this story fit into a collection?" but rather tend to invest myself in one story at a time, allowing it to become my entire world. Right now, I've got a character following me around the house, pacing my room at night, and I'm going to ignore the rustling outside my windows until I've told his story.


About the Author

Elizabeth Genovise grew up in Villa Park, Illinois, and studied in the MFA program at McNeese State University. She is the author of two short-story collections&mdsah;A Different Harbor (2014) and Where There Are Two or More (2015). She lives near Knoxville, Tennessee.


Writer's Desk

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

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