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 Maura Stanton
"Oh Shenandoah"
2014 O. Henry Award-winning Author

I'm delighted and honored to be included in The O. Henry Prize Stories. I've known about the award since high school, and I've used The O. Henry Prize Stories anthologies in fiction workshops to give my students great contemporary models for their own work. But I never expected to find one of my own stories inside the cover. It's very exciting!

(author photo © Richard Cecil)


Author's Desk

I keep writing stories about Venice. Why? I guess because it's the most beautiful city in the world. Some people don't like Venice because it's too crowded, too touristy, too this and that, but none of that bothers me. I feel at home in Venice. Maybe it's because I don't like to drive and it's a city where I can walk everywhere I want to go. On maps the city looks like a fish, but to me it looks a drawing of the brain. So walking around in Venice makes me dream. I've dreamed it a certain way, but my dreams are changing, and now anything can happen.


About the Author

For me, the short story is a challenging and visionary form. It's difficult to write a good story—a story that draws the reader in and creates a world that he or she doesn't want to leave—and I fail often. But I usually find a new opportunity in failure. My best stories are written right after my worst ones. Today—as I write this—Alice Monroe has won the Nobel Prize in Literature. I'm thrilled that someone who writes such inspiring and brilliant short stories has won this world-wide recognition.


About the Author

Maura Stanton was born in Evanston, IL, and grew up in Chicago, Peoria and Minneapolis. She has published a novel, Molly Companion, and three books of short stories, The Country I Come From, Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling, and Cities in the Sea, as well as six books of poetry, including Snow On Snow, which won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. She is the recipient of two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and her stories have won the Nelson Algren Award from the Chicago Tribune, the Lawrence Foundation Prize from the Michigan Quarterly Review, and the Michigan Literary Fiction Award. She lives in Bloomington, Indiana.


Writer's Desk

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

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