In the 1850's, the first literary theories about the short story genre appeared. Note that Mary Shelley's Frankenstein was first a short story before her husband Percy encouraged her to develop it into a novel. Also recall that the impetus for Shelley's novel was a short story contest issued by Lord Byron. This was a short story era.

Edgar Allan Poe, a widely read and known short story writer, wrote an essay that helped to define the characteristics of a short story. It was titled, "The Philosophy of Composition" (1846). In 1901, Brander Matthews published "The Philosophy of the Short-Story."Matthews was the first one to name and define this new emerging genre.

In the 20th century, magazine periodicals were immensely popular and featured short stories in each issue. Magazines such as The Atlantic Monthly and The Saturday Evening Post would pay writers handsomely for their stores.

The O. Henry Award was first presented in 1919. As of 2003, twenty stories were chosen as O. Henry winners. The goal of the O. Henry Prize is to encourage and strengthen the art of the short story. The volume of award winning stories is dedicated to a writer who has made a major contribution to the art of the short story

Watch this presentation about the O. Henry Award and winning stories.

You may also link to the O. Henry Award website HERE


Last modified: Thursday, 31 January 2013, 11:15 AM