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 Asako Serizawa
"Train to Harbin"
2016 O. Henry Award-winning Author

It's a surprise and a pleasure to be included in this year's O. Henry Prize Stories, especially because the chosen story has had a rather turbulent history that suggested a grim sort of end. After several happy twists, it's enormously encouraging that this anthology, limited to so few stories, had room to include a story like this. It makes me hopeful that maybe the world is a roomier place than it might seem at times.

(author photo © Matthew Modica)

Writing Tips

Every story begins on a blank screen (or page), pressured by the constraints and possibilities of a whole history of texts and a whole constellation of narrative elements designed to give form to and craft your intention, the initial impulse that got you started. You write, you think, you write; eventually, you figure out what your story is and how each narrative component contributes (or not) to the telling of it. There are many ways to write, many approaches to telling a story. Some people write for the pleasure of it, following the rush of an unpredictable muse. Others write towards a particular destination, mapless or mapped. The commonality, though, is that once it gets out there, it's no longer a private creation, but a social one, passing from the realm of expression to the realm of representation, and in that sense, becomes political. This idea of stories as a conveyor of ideas, perspectives, worldviews, raises a lot of questions about what stories are, what they do and what they can do in the world. For me, it's the possibility that makes story writing a huge and illuminating headache.

Writer's Desk

I'm currently prying a few old albatrosses off my neck. Which is to say I'm struggling to navigate a linked story collection to shore.

About the Author

Asako Serizawa was born in Japan and spent her pre-college life in Singapore, Jakarta, and Tokyo. Her stories have appeared in The Southern Review, Prairie Schooner, The Antioch Review, The O. Henry Prize Stories 2013, and the Pushcart Prize 2016 anthology. A recipient of a Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award, she has also received grants from the Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation and the Vermont Studio Center. A recent Fiction Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, she is currently in transit.

Writer's Desk

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

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