Established early in the last century as a memorial to the great American short story master O. Henry, throughout its history this annual collection has consistently offered a remarkable sampling of contemporary short stories. Each year, stories are chosen from large and small literary magazines, and a panel of distinguished writers is enlisted to make the final selection. The result is a superb collection of inventive, full-bodied stories representing the very best in American and Canadian fiction.
Dave Eggers, Joyce Carol Oates and Colson Whitehead made the selections for the 2002 edition of The O. Henry Prize Stories, with an introduction by series editor Larry Dark. Familiar names like Ann Beattie, Richard Ford, David Foster Wallace, Alice Munro and A.M. Homes dominate the table of contents. "The Ceiling," by Kevin Brockmeier, the First Prize winner, finds a man's marriage breaking up as a sinister object in the sky threatens to crush the earth; Second Prize goes to newcomer Mark Ray Lewis's "Scordatura," in which a young gay man returns home to his religious Texas town and bonds with his grandfather; Louise Erdrich comes in third with "The Butcher's Wife." National advertising.