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Established in 1918 as a memorial to O. Henry, this annual literary tradition has presented a remarkable offering of stories over its seventy-seven-year history. O. Henry first-prize winners have included Dorothy Parker, William Faulkner, Truman Capote, John Cheever, John Updike, and Cynthia Ozick, as well as some lesser-known writers such as Alison Baker and Cornelia Nixon. Many talented writers who were unknown when first chosen for an O. Henry Award later went on to become seminal voices of contemporary ...
Established in 1918 as a memorial to O. Henry, this annual literary tradition has presented a remarkable offering of stories over its seventy-seven-year history. O. Henry first-prize winners have included Dorothy Parker, William Faulkner, Truman Capote, John Cheever, John Updike, and Cynthia Ozick, as well as some lesser-known writers such as Alison Baker and Cornelia Nixon. Many talented writers who were unknown when first chosen for an O. Henry Award later went on to become seminal voices of contemporary American fiction. Representative of the very best in contemporary American fiction, these are varied, full-bodied fictional creations brimming with life—proof of the continuing strength and variety of the American short story.
Lorrie Moore takes First Prize with "People Like that Are the Only People Here," a mother's account of her baby's illness in which self- conscious irony ("The Tiny Tim Lounge is a little sitting area at the end of the Peed-Onk corridor") verges on black humor while staying just within the boundary of good taste. Second Prize-winner Steven Millhauser's "The Knife Thrower" describes in almost gothic prose the Svengali-like effect of a carnival actor upon an audience of small-town folk ("We had heard that among his followers there were many, young women especially, who longed to be wounded by the master and to bear his scar proudly"). Alice Munro's Third-Prize-winner, "The Children Stay," is more in the contemporary mode: an almost disembodied recollection of a woman's adultery and then abandonment of her family that becomes finally more ponderous than meditative. Several backwoods pieces, Rick Bass's "The Myth of Bears" (Yukon trappers) and Annie Proulx's "Brokeback Mountain" (Wyoming ranchers), manage to resuscitate old-fashioned realism with local color, but the best is Louise Erdrich's "Satan: Hijacker of a Planet," a taut, extraordinarily eerie description of a country girl seduced by a charismatic revival preacher.
Definitely worth picking through, even for readers who aren't all that serious.
|People Like that are the Only People Here: First Prize (The New Yorker, January 27, 1997)||1|
|The Knife Thrower: Second Prize (Harper's Magazine, March 1997)||35|
|The Children Stay: Third Prize (The New Yorker, December 22 & 29, 1997)||51|
|Flower Children: (Ploughshares, Vol. 23, Nos. 2 & 3)||79|
|Two Brothers: (Dominion Review, Volume XV)||90|
|Winky: (The New Yorker, July 28, 1997)||114|
|Me and My Enemy: (The Virginia Quarterly Review, Vol. 73, No. 4)||129|
|Tarantula: (Zoetrope: All-Story, Vol. 1, No. 1)||144|
|Gare Du Nord: (Harper's Magazine, August 1997)||175|
|Eating Dirt: (New England Review, Vol. 18, No. 2)||187|
|Relief: (The Paris Review, No. 141)||201|
|Boot: (Story, Spring 1997)||213|
|Crimson: (Manoa, Vol. 9, No. 2)||235|
|Movietone: Detour: (Fourteen Hills, Vol. 3, No. 2)||255|
|Cosmopolitan: (The Atlantic Monthly, January 1997)||273|
|Ashes: (Epoch, Vol. 46, No. 2)||297|
|The Myths of Bears: (The Southern Review, Vol. 33, No. 1)||321|
|Satan: Hijacker of a Planet: (The Atlantic Monthly, August 1997)||357|
|The Chimpanzees of Wyoming Territory: (Alaska Quarterly Review, Vol. 15, Nos. 3 & 4)||368|
|Brokeback Mountain: (The New Yorker, October 13, 1997)||380|
|50 Honorable Mention Stories||417|
|1998 Magazine Award: The New Yorker||424|