One of the premier annual short story anthologies in the world is the Pen/O Henry Prize Stores collection. These collections first began in 1919 and is open to short stories in American and Canadian magazines. Inclusion in the collection is a great honor and some of the greatest writers of the world have been published in these collections. I have decided to read through all and post on some of the best of the stories in the 2011 collection and then proceed to the 2012 collection. The 2005 and 2006 collections are also available as E books and perhaps I will read through them also. I only began to read contemporary short stories about two years ago so most of these writers, even though many are in fact very well known, will be new to me writers. Very few of the stories can be read online but a lot of the writers do have web pages so maybe you can sample their work a bit.
I plan just for fun to keep track of my personal top three 2011 O. Henry Prize Stories. Given that I have only read two so far here they are:
1. "Sunshine" by Lynn Freed-way the best so far
2. "Pole, Pole" by Susan Minot
I really loved "Sunshine" by Lynn Freed (South Africa). It is a story about a wealthy man whose servants bring him in a wild girl they found in the jungle, maybe ten. He has the girl cleaned up, keeps her in a cage for a while so she can become more tame and then he rapes her. He has done this many times before. He lives in a terribly poor place where people sometimes abandon their children, especially their daughters. The servants tell the man that the girl acts like she was raised by baboons which sets the story in either India or Africa, we are not told where it takes place. The man also preys on the children of the village, knowing his wealth will keep him in a steady supply of young girls. The story is told in a very flat almost deadpan way and it really is flat out brilliant. This story is not online anywhere as far as I know but there are several other stories that can be linked to from Freed's web page.