Thom Jones's first story was published in The New Yorker in 1991. Additional stories were accepted by Harper's, Esquire, and Mirabella magazines, among others, in the six months that followed. Jones's experiences as a boxer, and the resultant epilepsy from injuries received in the ring, form the background for several of the stories in his first collection, The Pugilist at Rest (1993), which was nominated for a National Book Award. The title story of this anthology won the O. Henry Award in 1993, and was included in Best American Short Stories, 1992. He followed with a second collection Cold Snap: Stories (1995). Jones's stories of boxing, the Vietnam War, and a boy's conflict's with his stepfather, among others, display a raw masculinity reminiscent of Ernest Hemingway.