Random House announced recently that it has partnered with the literary and human rights organization PEN American Center to publish the 2009 O. Henry Prize Stories collection. The anthology, which has been published annually since 1919, will now be titled The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories.
The 2009 edition, available on May 5, includes stories by authors such as Junot Díaz, Nadine Gordimer, and Paul Yoon, culled from thousands of works submitted by U.S. and Canadian literary magazines. Series editor Laura Furman selected the twenty winners, and from Furman's pool, jurors A. S. Byatt, Anthony Doerr, and Tim O'Brien each chose a favorite piece to honor.
The stories in the first O. Henry anthology supported by PEN, which promotes literature and free expression around the world, "feature locales as diverse as post-war Vietnam, a retirement community in Cape Town, South Africa, an Egyptian desert village, and a permanently darkened New York City," according to the Random House Web site. "The dizzying range of characters includes a Russian mail-order bride in Finland, a rebellious Dominican girl in New Jersey, and a hallucinating British Gulf War veteran."