Wednesday, September 2, 2009
AWP has asked for a 400-word biography of yours truly. This is the longest bio I've ever heard of. Below is what I came up with. Do any of you have any suggestion? By the way, this might be my new author photo.
Bonnie Jo Campbell is six feet tall and rides a donkey. She grew up on a small Michigan farm with her mother and four siblings in a house her grandfather Herlihy built in the shape of an H. She learned to castrate small pigs, milk Jersey cows, and make remarkable chocolate candy. When she left home for the University of Chicago to study philosophy, her mother rented out her room. She has since hitchhiked across the U.S. and Canada, scaled the Swiss Alps on her bicycle, and traveled with the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus selling snow cones. As president of Goulash Tours Inc., she has organized and led adventure tours in Eastern Europe, including Russia, Latvia, Romania and Bulgaria. She currently lives with her husband Christopher in Kalamazoo, Michigan, where she practices weapons arts, holding the rank of Nidan in Koburyu kobudo.
Her newest work of fiction, American Salvage (Wayne State University Press, 2009), is a lush and rowdy collection of stories set in a rural Michigan landscape, where wildlife, jobs, and ways of life are vanishing; from this collection, “The Inventor, 1972" won the Eudora Welty prize from Southern Review. According to Alan Cheuse, “In these stories about cold, lonely, meth-drenched, working-class Michigan life, there's a certain beauty reaching something like the sublimity of a D.H. Lawrence story.” Her collection Women & Other Animals, (University of Massachusetts Press, 1999), which won the AWP award for short fiction, details the lives of extraordinary rural and small-town females; "The Smallest Man in the World," from W&OA, was awarded a Pushcart Prize. Her novel, Q Road (Scribner 2002), investigates a community in which development pressures are changing the character of the land; Q Road was named a Barnes & Noble Great New Writer book and was honorable mention for the top award. Her fiction has recently been published in Southern Review, Kenyon Review, Alaska Review, Boulevard, and Witness. The New York Times has called her stories “Bitter but sweetened by humor,” and Publisher’s Weekly said Campbell details, “domestic worlds where Martha Stewart would fear to tread.” German translations of her fiction have been published by Droemer-Knaur. In 2009, Kim Addonizio chose her collection of poems, Love Letters to Sons of Bitches, for the Center for Book Arts Letterpress Chapbook award. Campbell teaches at Pacific University’s Low Residency MFA program in Oregon. You can find her on Facebook or at www.bonniejocampbell.com.