Gann, Kirby 1968–
Gann, Kirby 1968–
PERSONAL: Born 1968.
ADDRESSES: Home—Louisville, KY. Office—Sarabande Books, 2234 Dundee Rd., Ste. 200, Louisville, KY 40205; fax: 502-458-4065; Spalding University, Master of Fine Arts in Writing Program, 851 S. 4th St., Louisville, KY 40203. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer, editor, educator, and musician. Sarabande Books, Louisville, KY, managing editor; Spalding University, Louisville, teacher in M.F.A. writing program. Musician in band Jakeleg. Former semiprofessional soccer player and bookseller.
AWARDS, HONORS: Individual artist fellowship, and two professional assistance awards, all from Kentucky Arts Council.
(Editor, with Kristin Herbert) A Fine Excess: Contemporary Literature at Play (stories, essays, and poetry), Sarabande Books (Louisville, KY), 2001.
The Barbarian Parade; or, Pursuit of an Un-American Dream (novel), Hill Street Press (Athens, GA), 2003.
Our Napoleon in Rags (novel), Ig (Brooklyn, NY), 2005.
Short stories have appeared in numerous journals, including Witness, Best of Witness, Crescent Review, American Writing, Louisville Review, Southeast Review, and Southern Indiana Review.
SIDELIGHTS: Editor and writer Kirby Gann is the author of two novels and the coeditor with Kristin Herbert, of a collection of essays, poetry, and fiction stories titled A Fine Excess: Contemporary Literature at Play. Gann and Herbert chose the writings for the collection based on writers' "dynamic and inventive choice of language and structure," as noted by Booklist contributor Ted Leventhal. The volume features such well-known writers as e.e. cummings and William Gass as well as up-and-coming writers Rick Moody, Mike Newirth, and Connie Voisine. Instead of conventional, realistic writings, the authors chosen for inclusion take unconventional approaches to their craft, contributing stories with no plot or characterization and tales involving truly eccentric characters placed in surreal situations. Leventhal called the book "a worthy collection and refreshing for those tired of popular conventions." While a Publishers Weekly contributor commented that "this miscellany will appeal only to the literarily adventurous—a small but discrete market," Stacy Voeller, writing in Library Journal, remarked that, "throughout, the descriptive language breathes life into words, giving them dimensions all their own."
In the novel Our Napoleon in Rags, Gann tells the story of Haycraft Keebler, a man who suffers from bipolar disorder and hangs out in a bar called the Don Q (a reference to Don Quixote, the idealistic and chivalrous title character of Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes' novel). Keebler dreams up heartfelt if misguided plans to save the world, such as applying gold spray paint to trash cans. Other characters in the novel are also misfits of society, such as anarchist Romeo Diaz and his ballerina girlfriend, a woman who eventually runs off to become a porn star. A teenage street hustler named Lambret Dellinger becomes the object of Haycraft's affections and ultimately causes disaster and chaos among this community of off-kilter characters. Jim Dwyer, writing in Library Journal, explained that "all serve as narrators, and although all are archetypes, they are real and compelling characters." A Kirkus Reviews contributor noted that the novel contains "closing fictional moments of the wonderful and significant." In a review for the Louisville, Kentucky, Courier General, Frederick Smock remarked that "there are abundant felicities of style that make this an enjoyable—as well as provocative—novel to read."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2001, Ted Leventhal, review of A Fine Excess: Contemporary Literature at Play, p. 900.
Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), May 8, 2005, Frederick Smock, review of Our Napoleon in Rags.
Kirkus Reviews, February 15, 2005, review of Our Napoleon in Rags, p. 190.
Library Journal, December, 2000, Stacy Voeller, review of A Fine Excess, p. 131; May 15, 2005, Jim Dwyer, review of Our Napoleon in Rags, p. 105.
Publishers Weekly, January 1, 2001, review of A Fine Excess, p. 86.
AllReaders.com, http://www.allreaders.com/ (June 25, 2005), James Eugene, review of Our Napoleon in Rags.
Kirby Gann Home Page, http://www.kirbygann.net (June 25, 2005).
Sarabande Books Web site, http://www.sarabandebooks.org/ (June 25, 2005), profile of Kirby Gann.
Spalding University Web site, http://www.spalding.edu/ (June 25, 2005), profile of Kirby Gann.