Pollock to Present Fiction Reading at Bethany College

BETHANY, W.Va. — Fiction writer Donald Ray Pollock will read from his PEN/Robert Bingham Award winning story collection “Knockemstiff” on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m. in the Renner Art Gallery at Bethany College. The stories, set in the small community of Knockemstiff, Ohio, paint the often terrifying yet humorous portraits of people who are down on their luck and out of good options. The book will be available for purchase in the College bookstore and on the night of the reading. A book signing and reception will follow Pollock’s presentation.

Pollock was born in 1954 and grew up in Ross County, Ohio, in Knockemstiff, a “holler” situated 13 miles southwest of Chillicothe, Ohio. He dropped out of high school at 17 to work in a meatpacking plant and then spent thirty-two years employed in a paper mill in Chillicothe. He is now a graduate student in the MFA program at Ohio State University and hopes to someday teach fiction writing. Pollock lives in Chillicothe with his wife, Patsy, a high school English teacher.

His work — praised by The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times— has appeared in, or is forthcoming in, The New York Times, Third Coast, The Journal, Sou’wester, Chiron Review, River Styx, Boulevard, Folio, and The Berkeley Fiction Review.

Pollock’s book was awarded the PEN/Robert Bingham Fellowship for Writers in May. The award honors an exceptionally talented fiction writer whose debut work — a first novel or collection of short stories — represents distinguished literary achievement and suggests great promise. The winner receives a cash award of $35,000, a stipend intended to support the writing of a second work of literary fiction. The fellowship was established in memory of Robert Bingham, who died in 1999 at the age of 33, to commemorate his support of young writers, his love of literature and his contribution to literary fiction.

Pollock was also recently awarded the 2009 Devil's Kitchen Reading Award, for which he will receive an honorarium of $1000 and will present a public reading and participate in panels at the Devil's Kitchen Fall Literary Festival at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill.

According to Pollock’s web site, he is currently at work on a novel set in 1965 about a serial killer named Arvin Eugene Russell. For more information on Pollock, visit http://www.donaldraypollock.com/.

Bethany College is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the state’s oldest private college.