Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ron Carlson, fiction guru from the West

Ron Carlson is one of the best short story writers in the U.S. and now is staking a claim on novels. I could say "one of the best short story writers in the West," but that's a bit limiting. His stories are of the West but you don't have to be from here to appreciate the fine writing. His collection, "News of the World," is on my study book shelf with collections by Tobias Wolff, Kent Nelson, Rick DeMarinis, Lee K. Abbott, Richard Ford, Annie Proulx, Rick Bass and Antonya Nelson. All Westerners, either born in the region or moved here from some other place. The West seems to have more than its share of great short fiction writers, maybe even more than that great incubator of stories, the South.

Ron's from Utah, and one of his great stories, "The Governor's Ball," is set in Salt Lake City. It has a grabber of a beginning:

I didn't know until I had the ten-ton wet carpet on top of the hideous load of junk and I was soaked with the dank rust water that the Governor's Ball was that night.

Makes you want to dive right in to the story. Not surprisingly, Ron examines it in detail in a recent book, "Ron Carlson Writes a Story."

Ron Carlson's most recent book is a novel, "The Signal." It' set in Wyoming Wind River Mountains. The author's been to Wyoming many times and knows the lay of the land. He's been a presenter at literary conferences in Casper and Jackson. He's conducted writing workshops in Laramie, Rock Springs and numerous other places. He mentored scores of writers while at Arizona State and now does the same thing at University of California at Irvine.

Jenny Shank, the fine book reviewer and columnist for New West, conducted a Q&A interview with Ron. It's a must read for fiction writers. Read it here:

1 comment:

Günter said...

This post introduced me to Kent Nelson. I ordered The Touching that Lasts and I'm enjoying it a lot. Thank you!