William S. Porter (O. Henry), 1862-1910



O. Henry was the pen-name of William Sydney Porter (1862-1910)one of the most famous short-story writers. His life was a tragic one because he was sentenced to five years in prison accused of fraudulent appropriation of funds at the bank where he worked as a cashier. In spite of this, life gave him a profound knowledge of human character, especially of inhabitants in big cities who are unfortunate in life. As a story-teller, he is remarkable for his ingenuity in the use of ironical coincidences, for his skilful plots and because he was particularly clever at writing stories with an unexpected ending.

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Fiction, short stories
In 1884 Porter started a humorous weekly The Rolling Stones and his stories gained an immediate success among readers. This collection of short stories belongs to this period and was published in 1912, two years after his death. In 1918 the O. Henry Memorial Awards were established to be given annually to the best magazine stories, the winners and leading contenders to be published in an annual volume.

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