Geoff Schmidt’s fiction wins award

Publication is the aspiration of any academic. Sometimes, in creative writing, it requires letting a manuscript gather a little dust to help it come together. Geoffrey Schmidt, associate professor of english language and literature at SIUE, discovered this fact, and hopes to help students learn from his experience.

Schmidt said he had set the collection aside on several occasions and that finding the right order and stories for the collection was patience testing. He worked to find the best order that would give the best reading experience.

“My collection is the culmination of years and years of writing that slowly came together,” said Schmidt.

The collection includes eight short stories with seven shorter stories that bridge the longer stories. Schmidt said the stories deal with people wrestling with mortality, imagination, and life. He said he has always been interested in how people will feel trapped and how the mind can be used as a tool to free a person from real life.

The University of North Texas (UNT) Press announced recently that the collection of short stories submitted for award review by Schmidt worthy of their award. Schmidt’s collection will be published in November of 2011, according to UNT Presses website.

UNT Press awards the Katherine Anne Porter award for short-shorts, short stories, and novellas, according to their website. The award comes with a $1000 cash prize.

Katherine Anne Porter, born in 1890, made a name for herself in writing in 1922.

“Porter became visible on the literary scene in 1922 with the publication of “María Concepción” in Century Magazine, and, from that moment on, the author spent a lifetime fulfilling her promise by becoming one of the finest practitioners of the art of the short story,” according to the Katherine Anne Porter Society website.

The site also states that Porter changed her life from one of “hardship, dislocation, and severe loss in rural Texas” to become “one of the most compelling literary figures of the twentieth century.”

Schmidt states that he is grateful for the recognition from UNT Press for the award. He is glad that the collection will finally be published. He will use the experience to help guide his students through the publishing process. Schmidt said that will be able to use his experience as validation for his students who may think they will never be published.

Schmidt set the collection aside several times but he never gave up on it.  He will urge his students to never quit.

“Sometimes, you just have to write your heart out,” said Schmidt.

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Filed Under: English Language & Lit


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