For the past three decades, William Abrahams has selected the O. Henry Award winners. Building on a tradition that spans over three quarters of a century, The O. Henry Awards has been "widely regarded as the nation's most prestigious awards for short fiction" (The Atlantic Monthly). Every year, Abrahams has chosen a diverse group of stories and writers to creat a collection that includes perennial favorites as well as an increasing number of lesser known writers, many of whom have gone on to become seminal voices in current American fiction. Prize Stories 1996 is both William Abrahams's thirtieth anniversary as Editor of this landmark collection and his last, which gives this collection a special resonance. The twenty or more stories selected for this honor each yhear are culled from a broad range of American magazines both large and small, offering the reader the full sweep and variety of today's fiction. As in previous years, Prize Stories 1996 concludes with a contributors' notes section including comments by the writers on the inspirations behind their stories, providing readers with a unique entrÚe into the writers' creative processes. Representing the excellence of contemporary fiction writing, these stories demonstrate the continuing strenghth and vitality of the American short story.