Assignment: Edit a Contemporary Short Fiction Anthology

Many professional writers also edit anthologies of short fiction. For students, compiling and editing an anthology of contemporary fiction can be an opportunity to discover their personal fiction aesthetic.

Assignment Description Handout
Anthology Assignment.docx
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Assignment Description

To complete this assignment, first check out editions of The Best American Short Stories, O’Henry Prize Winners, and Pushcart Prize Winners  from the past fifteen years and read as many stories as you can. You can either start with a theme or idea in mind and search for stories that fit it, or simply wait to see which stories grab you and hold your imagination, which stories inspire or excite you, which stories stayed with you long after you finish reading them. Choose 12 such stories to become your anthology.


After you have identified 12 stories, you will assemble a book by following these steps:


   1)  Create a cover page with a title for your collection

   2)  Create a table of contents page

         Remember to think carefully about the order of the stories.

         Include the place where the story originally appeared in print.

   3)  Write an introduction

All anthologies open with an introductory essay by the editor and yours will be no different. Write an essay of 3-4 pages that explains how the stories you have selected reflect a aesthetic sensibility, worldview, theme, et cetera. What unites them and what separates them?

    4)  Assemble the title page, table of contents, introduction, and 12 stories into a single

         document. This can be done in one of two ways

             a)  scan the stories as pdfs, convert your word docs to pdfs, and then merge them

                   all together into a single document and email it to me

             b)  Print the cover page, table of contents, introduction, and all 12 stories

                   (photocopies are okay) and then bind them in a 3-ring folder


There is one restriction on this assignment. The stories can be from any genre, and about any subject matter you choose. However, they must all have been published within the last 15 years. Classics like "The Yellow Wallpaper" or "The Lottery" are not allowed!