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O. Henry Award
Awarded forShort story awards
CountryUnited States
First awarded1919; 105 years ago (1919)
Website Edit this on Wikidata

The O. Henry Award is an annual American award given to short stories of exceptional merit. The award is named after the American short-story writer O. Henry.

The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories is an annual collection of the year's twenty best stories published in U.S. and Canadian magazines.

Until 2002 there were first, second, and third prize winners and from 2003 to 2019 there were three jurors who each selected a short story of special interest or merit; the collection is called The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, and the original collection was called Prize Stories 1919: The O. Henry Memorial Awards.

History and format

The award was first presented in 1919 and funded by the Society of Arts and Sciences.[1][2] As of 2021, the guest editor chooses twenty short stories, each an O. Henry Prize story. All stories published in an American or Canadian periodical are eligible for consideration, including stories that have been translated into English.

The goal of The O. Henry Prize Stories remains to strengthen the art of the short story.

The current series editor for The O. Henry Prize Stories is Jenny Minton Quigley. Past series editors have been: Blanche Colton Williams (1919–32), Harry Hansen (1933–40), Herschel Brickell (1941–51), Paul Engle (1954–59), Mary Stegner (1960), Richard Poirier (1961–66, assisted by William Abrahams, 1964–66), William Abrahams (1967–96), Larry Dark (1997–2002) and Laura Furman (2003–2019). There were no volumes of the series in 1952 and 1953 (due to Herschel Brickell's death), 2004 and 2020.[1]

Partnership with PEN American Center

In 2009 The O. Henry Prize Stories publisher, Anchor Books, renamed the series in partnership with the PEN American Center (today PEN America), producing the first PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories collection. Proceeds from the PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories 2009 would be directed to PEN's Readers & Writers Program, which sends well-known authors to under served inner-city schools.

The selection included stories by Graham Joyce, John Burnside, Roger Nash, Manuel Muñoz, Ha Jin, Paul Theroux, Judy Troy, Nadine Gordimer, Marisa Silver, Paul Yoon, Andrew Sean Greer, and Junot Díaz, with A. S. Byatt, Tim O'Brien and Anthony Doerr – all authors of past O. Henry Prize Stories – serving as the prize jury.[3]

In an interview for the Vintage Books and Anchor Books blog, editor Laura Furman called the collaboration with PEN a "natural partnership".[4]

First-prize winners (1919–2002)

O. Henry Award winners[5]
Year Author Title Publication Ref.
1919 Margaret Prescott Montague England to America The Atlantic Monthly, September 1918
1920 Maxwell Struthers Burt Each in His Generation Scribner's Magazine, July 1920
1921 Edison Marshall The Heart of Little Shikara Everybody's Magazine, January 1921
1922 Irvin S. Cobb Snake Doctor Cosmopolitan, November 1922
1923 Edgar Valentine Smith Prelude Harper's Magazine, May 1923
1924 Inez Haynes Irwin The Spring Flight McCall's, June 1924
1925 Julian Street Mr. Bisbee's Princess Redbook, May 1925
1926 Wilbur Daniel Steele Bubbles Harper's Magazine
1927 Roark Bradford Child of God Harper's Magazine, April 1927
1928 Walter Duranty The Parrot Redbook, March 1928
1929 Dorothy Parker Big Blonde Bookman Magazine, February 1929
1930 W. R. Burnett Dressing-Up Harper's Magazine, November 1929 [6]
William M. John Neither Jew nor Greek The Century Magazine, August 1929 [6]
1931 Wilbur Daniel Steele Can't Cross Jordan by Myself Pictorial Review
1932 Stephen Vincent Benét An End to Dreams Pictorial Review, February 1932
1933 Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings Gal Young Un Harper's Magazine, June-July 1932
1934 Louis Paul No More Trouble for Jedwick Esquire
1935 Kay Boyle The White Horses of Vienna Harper's Magazine
1936 James Gould Cozzens Total Stranger The Saturday Evening Post, February 15, 1936
1937 Stephen Vincent Benét The Devil and Daniel Webster The Saturday Evening Post
1938 Albert Maltz The Happiest Man on Earth Harper's Magazine
1939 William Faulkner Barn Burning Harper's Magazine
1940 Stephen Vincent Benét Freedom's a Hard-Bought Thing The Saturday Evening Post
1941 Kay Boyle Defeat The New Yorker
1942 Eudora Welty The Wide Net Harper's Magazine
1943 Eudora Welty Livvie is Back The Atlantic Monthly
1944 Irwin Shaw Walking Wounded The New Yorker
1945 Walter Van Tilburg Clark The Wind and the Snow of Winter The Yale Review
1946 John Mayo Goss Bird Song The Atlantic Monthly
1947 John Bell Clayton The White Circle Harper's Magazine
1948 Truman Capote Shut a Final Door The Atlantic Monthly
1949 William Faulkner A Courtship The Sewanee Review
1950 Wallace Stegner The Blue-Winged Teal Harper's Magazine
1951 Harris Downey The Hunters Epoch
1952 No edition
1953 No edition
1954 Thomas Mabry The Indian Feather The Sewanee Review
1955 Jean Stafford In the Zoo The New Yorker
1956 John Cheever The Country Husband The New Yorker
1957 Flannery O'Connor Greenleaf The Kenyon Review
1958 Martha Gellhorn In Sickness as in Health The Atlantic Monthly
1959 Peter Taylor Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time The Kenyon Review
1960 Lawrence Sargent Hall The Ledge The Hudson Review, Winter 1958–59
1961 Tillie Olsen Tell Me a Riddle New World Writing
1962 Katherine Anne Porter Holiday The Atlantic Monthly, December 1960
1963 Flannery O'Connor Everything That Rises Must Converge New World Writing
1964 John Cheever The Embarkment for Cythera The New Yorker, November 3, 1962
1965 Flannery O'Connor Revelation The Sewanee Review, Spring 1964
1966 John Updike The Bulgarian Poetess The New Yorker, March 13, 1965 [7]
1967 Joyce Carol Oates In the Region of Ice The Atlantic Monthly, August 1966
1968 Eudora Welty The Demonstrators The New Yorker, November 26, 1966
1969 Bernard Malamud Man in the Drawer The Atlantic Monthly, April 1968
1970 Robert Hemenway The Girl Who Sang with the Beatles The New Yorker, January 11, 1969
1971 Florence M. Hecht Twin Bed Bridge The Atlantic Monthly, May 1970
1972 John Batki Strange-Dreaming Charlie, Cow-Eyed Charlie The New Yorker, March 20, 1971
1973 Joyce Carol Oates The Dead McCall's, July 1971
1974 Renata Adler Brownstone The New Yorker, January 27, 1973
1975 Harold Brodkey A Story in an Almost Classical Mode The New Yorker, September 17, 1973
Cynthia Ozick Usurpation (Other People's Stories) Esquire, May 1974
1976 Harold Brodkey His Son in His Arms, in Light, Aloft Esquire, August 1975
1977 Shirley Hazzard A Long Story Short The New Yorker, July 26, 1976
Ella Leffland Last Courtesies Harper's Magazine, July 1976
1978 Woody Allen The Kugelmass Episode The New Yorker, May 2, 1977
1979 Gordon Weaver Getting Serious The Sewanee Review, Fall 1977
1980 Saul Bellow A Silver Dish The New Yorker, September 25, 1978
1981 Cynthia Ozick The Shawl The New Yorker, May 26, 1980
1982 Susan Kenney Facing Front Epoch, Winter 1980
1983 Raymond Carver A Small, Good Thing Ploughshares
1984 Cynthia Ozick Rosa The New Yorker, March 21, 1983
1985 Stuart Dybek Hot Ice Antaeus
Jane Smiley Lily The Atlantic Monthly
1986 Alice Walker Kindred Spirits Esquire, August 1985 [8]
1987 Louise Erdrich Fleur Esquire, August 1986
Joyce Johnson The Children's Wing Harper's Magazine, July 1986
1988 Raymond Carver Errand The New Yorker, June 1, 1987
1989 Ernest J. Finney Peacocks The Sewanee Review, Winter 1988
1990 Leo E. Litwak The Eleventh Edition TriQuarterly, Winter 1989
1991 John Updike A Sandstone Farmhouse The New Yorker, June 11, 1990
1992 Cynthia Ozick Puttermesser Paired The New Yorker, October 8, 1990
1993 Thom Jones The Pugilist at Rest The New Yorker, December 2, 1991
1994 Alison Baker Better Be Ready 'Bout Half Past Eight The Atlantic Monthly, January 1993
1995 Cornelia Nixon The Women Come and Go New England Review, Spring 1994
1996 Stephen King The Man in the Black Suit The New Yorker, October 31, 1994
1997 Mary Gordon City Life Ploughshares
1998 Lorrie Moore People Like That Are the Only People Here The New Yorker, January 27, 1997
1999 Peter Baida A Nurse's Story The Gettysburg Review
2000 John Edgar Wideman Weight The Callaloo Journal
2001 Mary Swan The Deep The Malahat Review
2002 Kevin Brockmeier The Ceiling McSweeney's

Juror favorites (2003–2019)

O. Henry Award Juror Favorites[5]
Year Author Title Publication Ref.
2003 A. S. Byatt The Thing in the Forest The New Yorker, June 3, 2002
Denis Johnson Train Dreams The Paris Review, Summer 2002
2004 No award
2005 Sherman Alexie What You Pawn I Will Redeem The New Yorker, April 21, 2003
Ruth Prawer Jhabvala Refuge in London Zoetrope: All-Story, Winter 2003
Elizabeth Stuckey-French Mudlavia The Atlantic Monthly, September 2003
2006 Deborah Eisenberg Window Tin House, Spring 2004
Edward P. Jones Old Boys, Old Girls The New Yorker, May 3, 2004
Alice Munro Passion The New Yorker, March 22, 2004 [9]
2007 Eddie Chuculate Galveston Bay, 1826 Manoa, Winter 2004
William Trevor The Room The New Yorker, May 16, 2005
2008 Alice Munro What Do You Want To Know For? The American Scholar
William Trevor Folie a Deux The New Yorker
Alexi Zentner Touch Tin House
2009 Junot Díaz Wildwood The New Yorker
Graham Joyce An Ordinary Soldier of the Queen The Paris Review
2010 James Lasdun Oh, Death The Paris Review, Spring 2009
Daniyal Mueenuddin A Spoiled Man The New Yorker, September 15, 2008
William Trevor The Woman of the House The New Yorker, December 15, 2008
2011 Lynn Freed Sunshine Narrative Magazine
Matthew Neill Null Something You Can't Live Without Oxford American
Jim Shepard Your Fate Hurtles Down at You Electric Literature
2012 Yiyun Li Kindness A Public Space
Alice Munro Corrie The New Yorker [9]
2013 Andrea Barrett The Particles Tin House
Deborah Eisenberg Your Duck Is My Duck Fence
Kelly Link The Summer People Tin House
2014 Mark Haddon The Gun Granta
Kristen Iskandrian The Inheritors Tin House
Laura van den Berg Opa-locka The Southern Review
2015 Elizabeth McCracken Birdsong from the Radio Zoetrope: All-Story
Christopher Merkner Cabins Subtropics
Dina Nayeri A Ride Out of Phrao The Alaska Quarterly Review
2016 Elizabeth Genovise Irises The Cimarron Review
Asako Serizawa Train to Harbin The Hudson Review
Frederic Tuten Winter, 1965 BOMB
2017 Michelle Huneven Too Good to Be True Harper's
Amit Majmudar Secret Lives of the Detainees The Kenyon Review
Fiona McFarlane Buttony The New Yorker
2018 Jo Ann Beard The Tomb of Wrestling Tin House
Marjorie Celona Counterblast The Southern Review
2019 Tessa Hadley Funny Little Snake The New Yorker
Rachel Kondo Girl of Few Seasons Ploughshares Solos
Weike Wang Omakase The New Yorker [10]

Guest editor (2021–)

O. Henry Award guest editors[11]
Year Editor Ref.
2021 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
2022 Valeria Luiselli [12]
2023 Lauren Groff

See also


  1. ^ a b "Penguin Random House". Archived from the original on 3 February 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  2. ^ Kunitz, Stanley J.; Howard Haycraft (1942). Twentieth Century Authors. New York: The H. W. Wilson Company.
  3. ^ Itzkoff, Dave. "O. Henry Prize, PEN Announce Partnership" Archived 2009-04-16 at the Wayback Machine, "The New York Times Arts Beat", 2009-04-07.
  4. ^ "Two Literary Lions Merge", "Vintage Books", 2009-04-10.
  5. ^ a b "The O. Henry Prize Past Winners". Random House. Archived from the original on 2017-09-05. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
  6. ^ a b "TWO WRITERS IN TIE FOR O. HENRY AWARD; W.R. Burnett and William M. John Share $500 Prize for Best Magazine Story in 1929". The New York Times. 1930-11-07. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on 2021-06-03. Retrieved 2023-02-26.
  7. ^ "John Updike". Britannica. Archived from the original on 2023-02-21. Retrieved 2023-02-26.
  8. ^ "Alice Walker". Britannica. Archived from the original on 2023-02-21. Retrieved 2023-02-26.
  9. ^ a b "Alice Munro". Britannica. Archived from the original on 2021-04-04. Retrieved 2023-02-26.
  10. ^ ""Omakase"". Literary Hub. 2019-05-16. Archived from the original on 2022-11-27. Retrieved 2023-02-26.
  11. ^ "The O. Henry Prize Collection". Penguin Randomhouse. Archived from the original on 2022-12-19. Retrieved 2023-02-26.
  12. ^ "Announcing the Winners of the 2022 O. Henry Prize for Short Fiction". Literary Hub. 2022-04-04. Archived from the original on 2022-12-22. Retrieved 2023-02-26.