O. Henry Award Winners - History and Format

History and Format

The award was first presented in 1919 and funded by the Society of Arts and Sciences. As of 2012, the series editor chooses twenty short stories, each one an O. Henry Prize story. All stories originally written in the English language and published in an American or Canadian periodical are eligible for consideration. Three jurors are appointed annually. The jurors receive the twenty prize stories in manuscript form, with no identification of author or publication. Each juror, acting independently, chooses a short story of special interest and merit, and comments on that story.

The goal of The O. Henry Prize Stories remains to strengthen the art of the short story. Starting in 2003, The O. Henry Prize Stories is dedicated to a writer who has made a major contribution to the art of the short story. The O. Henry Prize Stories 2007 was dedicated to Sherwood Anderson, a U.S. short-story writer. Jurors for 2007 were Charles D'Ambrosio, Lily Tuck and Ursula K. Le Guin.

The current series editor for The O. Henry Prize Stories is Laura Furman. 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), and Larry Dark (1997-2002). There were no volumes of the series in 1952, 1953, and 2004.

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