Duncan, Andy 1964-
DUNCAN, Andy 1964-
Born September 21, 1964, in Columbia, SC; son of Alvin Edward (a rural mail carrier) and Frances Marian (a homemaker) Duncan; married January 14, 2000; wife's name Sydney. Ethnicity: "White." Education: University of South Carolina, B.A., 1986; North Carolina State University, M.A., 1995; University of Alabama, M.F.A., 2000. Hobbies and other interests: Old movies, community theatre.
Office—University of Alabama Office of Student Media, Box 870170, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487. Agent—Shawna McCarthy, The McCarthy Agency, 545 Eighth Ave., Suite 401, New York, NY 10018. E-mail—[email protected]
Educator and fiction writer. News & Record, Greensboro NC, features writer and copy editor, 1986-93; University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, assistant director of student media, 2002—.
Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, Horror Writers Association, and Alabama Writers' Forum.
World Fantasy Award, 2001, for Beluthahatchi and Other Stories and The Pottawatomie Giant; Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award, University of Kansas Center for the Study of Science Fiction, 2002, for The Chief Designer.
Beluthahatchie and Other Stories, Golden Gryphon Press (Urbana, IL), 2000.
Contributor of short fiction to periodicals, including Science Fiction, Cemetery Dance, Asimov's Science Fiction, and Conjunctions. Stories anthologized in books, including Mojo: Conjure Stories, Warner Aspect, 2003, and The Silver Gryphon, Golden Gryphon Press, 2003.
WORK IN PROGRESS:
Alabama Curiosities, nonfiction, for Globe Pequot Press; The Man Who Rode the Mule around the World, a novella, for Tachyon Press; Crossroads: Southern Stories of the Fantastic, a fiction anthology, for Tor Books.
Born in 1964 in Columbia, South Carolina, former News & Record reporter Andy Duncan is making it his personal mission to expand the boundaries of the literary genre encompassed by the term "Southern writing." With his award-winning debut collection, Beluthahatchie and Other Stories, Duncan "is one of those rare and wonderful writers who only comes along once in a great while, an author whose impact is immediately felt and whose stories astound and amaze even the most critical reader," according to Gary S. Potter in Charleston, South Carolina's Post and Courier.
Beluthahatchie provides readers with a collection of science fiction, fantasy, and horror, combined with Duncan's natural ability to artfully craft classic themes into uniquely distinct and commanding stories. His writing style has been compared to that of William Faulkner and Tennessee Williams. In the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Kevin Bicknell noted of the author's writing: "Tension between art and craft is at the heart of Duncan's fiction.…You can see a writer of subtlety and grace struggling against the conventions of the short story." "While this sense of freedom is exciting," the critic added, "it's also more than a little frustrating." Duncan is able to take basic genres like science fiction and horror, and rework them to make them his own, blending characteristics, and sometimes disregarding genre rules in the process, "What makes this collection so appealing is that the stories are virtually unclassifiable," added Gary Potter.
In an online interview with Nick Gevers of Infinity Plus, Duncan spoke about his craft. "I'm determined not to fit anyone's predetermined notion of "Southern writing." As I like to tell people, there's a lot more to write about in the South than moonlight and magnolias and the Confederate dead—or, conversely, trailer parks and Snopeses and Baptists.… Certainly I have inherited a lot of Southern traits that are useful for a writer: a love of colourful talk, a sense of place, a sense of humor, an immersion from birth in an ocean of story. Not to mention a fascination with the eccentric and the quirky and, yes, the grotesque.
"Certainly all my stories, on some level, are meant to divert, to engross, to entertain; when I'm working as I should, the stories also, on some level, are meant to disturb, to unsettle, to shake people up, to pose tough questions.…Two tough questions I like to pose, because I have no answer for them, are: To what extent can I ever really know what it's like to be anybody else? To what extent can anyone else ever really know what it's like to be me? These question bore to the heart of the whole fictional enterprise—because if fiction doesn't attempt to transform both writer and reader, make them briefly someone else, than what good is it? Otherwise it's frivolous, it's candy."
A prolific writer, Duncan continues to expand his body of work with both short and long fiction. His up-and-coming works include Alabama Curiosities, a nonfiction piece, along with a novella titled The Man Who Rode the Mule around the World.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 4, 2001, Kevin Bicknell, review of Beluthahatchie and Other Stories, p. C3.
Post and Courier (Charleston, SC), February 4, 2001, Gary S. Potter, review of Beluthahatchi and Other Stories, p. 3.
Andy Duncan Web site,http://www.angelfire.com/al/ (January 26, 2004).
Infinity Plus,http://www.infinityplus.co.uk/ (January 26, 2004), Nick Gevers, interview with Duncan.