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Ron Rash

Ron Rash

Ron Rash

Ron Rash is the author of the 2009 PEN/Faulkner Finalist and New York Times bestselling novel Serena, in addition to five other novels, including One Foot in Eden, Saints at the River, The World Made Straight, and Above the Waterfall; five collections of poems; and six collections of stories, among them Burning Bright, which won the 2010 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, Chemistry and Other Stories, which was a finalist for the 2007 PEN/Faulkner Award, and most recently, Something Rich and Strange. Twice the recipient of the O. Henry Prize, he teaches at Western Carolina University.

Ron Rash earned a bachelor’s degree at Gardner-Webb University, although by his own admission he was “not a great student.” Yet he also showed all the symptoms of being a writer from a young age, most notably comfort in the solitude of time spent alone in the woods along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Still, Rash had entered college with no loftier goal than someday becoming a track coach.

By the time he arrived at Clemson for graduate work in English, Rash was not feeling particularly sure of his path. But it turned out to be the right place at the right time for a would-be writer.

While Rash is best known as a novelist, he started out writing primarily poetry and short stories. He has had poems appear in more than 100 magazines and journals, but didn’t publish his first book until his 40s, the 1994 short-story collection The Night the New Jesus Fell to Earth and Other Stories From Cliffside, North Carolina. After a couple of poetry collections came One Foot in Eden, the first of his six novels.*

Rash has just learned that he has been named a 2017 Guggenheim Fellow. The Guggenheim Foundation writes, “Guggenheim Fellows are appointed on the basis of impressive achievement in the past and exceptional promise for future accomplishment.”

* Excerpted in part from Clemson World magazine.