Six of us, 10 min each. A perfect arrangement, in my opinion. After five gloriously varied pieces (we read in alphabetical order), I read bits and pieces from "Train to Harbin."
Thank you Joanna Yas (& NYU) for hosting it!
Thank you Beth McCabe & The Rona Jaffe Foundation -- and our anonymous nominators & jury -- for absolutely everything.
The 2016 O. Henry Prize Stories is officially out, and I'm very lucky to have "Train to Harbin" included in it -- and to have Molly Antopol select it for her juror favorite! First published in The Hudson Review and reprinted in the 2016 Pushcart Prize anthology, "Train to Harbin" is a companion story to "The Visitor," which was included in the 2013 O. Henry Prize Stories. In the "Writers on Their Work" section of this year's anthology, I write about the relationship between the two stories.
Here's Laura Furman’s introduction to this year's selection. (Thank you, Laura Furman!)
Here's Molly Antopol's juror essay on "Train to Harbin." (Thank you, Molly Antopol, for the attentive reading!)
Here's Kelly Luce's essay on selecting this year's O. Henry Prize stories (Thank you, Kelly Luce!).
Here's the Kirkus Review on this year's anthology (in which "Train" gets a small mention!).
I'm very pleased to be receiving a 2016 Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award this fall. This year, there are three fiction writers, two nonfiction writers, and one poet receiving this award.
We'll also be giving a short reading as part of New York University's Creative Writing Program Reading Series at the Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House on Friday, September 16 at 7 pm.
It's official: "Train to Harbin," first published in The Hudson Review, is included in this year's O. Henry Prize Stories (thank you Laura Furman!). The story is featured on LitHub (thank you LitHub!). You can read it here. The list of all twenty O. Henry Prize winners can be found here. The anthology is due out in September.
"Train to Harbin" is a companion story to "The Visitor," which was included in the 2013 O. Henry Prize Stories anthology.
Sadly, due to multiple moves this summer, my copy of the anthology has yet to make its way to me. I'll update this post, once it arrives. For now, I'll just say that I'm lucky to have a story included here, thanks to The Hudson Review and all the wind they've put behind this sail.
"Train to Harbin" was first published in the Autumn 2014 New Writer's Issue (Volume LXVII, No. 3) of The Hudson Review. You can read the story here.
I also stumbled across this awesome blog with excellent reading notes, including notes on the various pieces from this year's Pushcart Prize anthology. I was delighted to read the entry on "Train to Harbin" -- I felt very lucky.
7 months of this.
(Though it did sort of snow after this picture...)
I think it'll be an inspiring & productive stretch. Really really grateful.
For many reasons, I struggle to answer questions like these. So I mostly ended up talking about revision, where it all seems to be at for me.
Read it here.
For stuff about the experience of writing "The Visitor," see "The Writers on Their Work" section at the back of the anthology itself.
Way back, when I was a senior in high school, I received a writing award from the English Department. I was in Japan, in Tokyo, having moved back there for the last two years of my high school. The school was called -- is still called -- the American School in Japan. I hated it, except that I made some very good friends and was encouraged to read and write and read some more. This was before I wrote my first story; all I had written were papers and essays and a smattering of embarrassing poems I mercifully showed no one except a couple of close friends, who I have to hope saved no copies of them. The writing award came with a gift. It was wrapped in washi, traditional Japanese paper, and contained a copy of that year's O. Henry Prize Stories, signed by everyone in the department. Having gone to British-based International Schools all my life in countries where access to English-language books were mostly limited to English classics curated by the school library, it was my first introduction to the prize and anthology. It's a strange feeling now to see my name included here and see the spine next to the one I had received all those years ago. It's nothing I ever imagined back then -- it had not yet crossed my mind that I would one day write fiction.
There is something about receiving an acceptance phone call (as opposed to an email) that adds to the flush of excitement. The call from Antioch happened as I was walking into a Staples in Chicago. It was the momentary confusion that preceded the surprise that made that call wonderfully -- memorably -- stressful.