It's that time of year again: the O. Henry Prize Stories have been announced — and they look fantastic. Twenty stories have been chosen to go into the O. Henry short story anthology, which will be released in September from Anchor — and six of those stories are available to read online right now. To read the rest of them: well, you're just going to have to get saving for that book, now, aren't you.
Or, if you really can't wait that long, there is a way to track them all down now. Each of the prize stories has been chosen from an American or Canadian periodical in which it must have been published, in English, during the last year. So if you're desperate to get your hands on all twenty O. Henry Prize Stories (and I don't blame you; these are the best short stories of the whole year after all), all you have to do is track down the original publications and buy them all. Um, simple, right?
To get you started, here are the stories that were selected by a jury as the best of the bunch, along with the magazines they appeared in. The rest of the detective work is in your hands...
- “Irises” by Elizabeth Genovise, Cimarron Review
- “The Mongerji Letters” by Geetha Iyer, Orion
- “Narrator” by Elizabeth Tallent, The Threepenny Review
- “Bonus Baby” by Joe Donnelly, ZYZZYVA
- “Divergence” by David H. Lynn, Glimmer Train
- “A Simple Composition” by Shruti Swamy, Agni
- “Storm Windows” by Charles Haverty, One Story
- “Train to Harbin” by Asako Serizawa, The Hudson Review
- “Dismemberment” by Wendell Berry, The Threepenny Review
- “Exit Zero” by Marie-Helene Bertino, Epoch
- “Cigarettes” by Sam Savage, The Paris Review
- “Temples” by Adrienne Celt, Epoch
- “Safety” by Lydia Fitzpatrick, One Story
- “Bounty” by Diane Cook, Harper’s
- “A Single Deliberate Thing” by Zebbie Watson, The Threepenny Review
- “The Crabapple Tree” by Robert Coover, The New Yorker
- “Winter, 1965” by Frederic Tuten, BOMB
- “They Were Awake” by Rebecca Evanhoe, Harper’s
- “Slumming” by Ottessa Moshfegh, The Paris Review
- “Happiness” by Ron Carlson, Ecotone
Some of the writers, like author Ottessa Moshfegh, are already fairly well-known; others, you may not have heard of before. But they all have one thing in common: they've each written a truly beautiful short story.