Shade, Eric

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SHADE, Eric

PERSONAL:

Born in Altoona, PA. Education: Pennsylvania State University, B.A. (English literature), 1993; University of Houston, M.F.A., 1999.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Houston, TX. Agent—c/o Author Mail, University of Georgia Press, 330 Research Dr., Athens, GA 30602-4901.

CAREER:

University of Houston, Houston, TX, teaching fellow; Houston Community College, Houston, instructor; also taught English in Seoul, South Korea.

AWARDS, HONORS:

James Michener fellowship; Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction, 2003, for Eyesores.

WRITINGS:

Eyesores (short stories), University of Georgia Press (Athens, GA), 2003.

Contributor of stories to periodicals, including Indiana Review, Greensboro Reviews, and River Styx.

WORK IN PROGRESS:

Let's All Criticize Turk Fournier, a novel.

SIDELIGHTS:

Eric Shade received the 2003 Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction for his story collection Eyesores, "a tough, unforgiving portrait of shallow small-town folk who have heard only the gossip on nobility," stated a critic in Kirkus Reviews. Shade told interviewer Pam Kingsbury on the Southern Scribe Web site that he wrote the stories between 1998 and 2001: "I did intend from the beginning to write intertwined stories, but I wanted the stories to be able to stand alone as well."

Each of the eleven stories in Eyesores is set in the fictional Pennsylvania town of Windfall, a community "bypassed by the interstate, its rail line clogged with coal cars that haven't moved an inch in years," according to the University of Georgia Press Web site. In the title story, a group of workers reminisce as they tear down the local drive-in theater. "The Last Night of the County Fair" concerns a pair of teenagers who drive through the Pennsylvania countryside hoping to meet girls. The characters in Eyesores "harbor no wild dreams of a new beginning, and romance, well, that's just a crock," noted Houston Chronicle reviewer John Freeman. "Shade records their big losses and small triumphs with clear-eyed compassion and humor," wrote Library Journal contributor Marcia Tager, and Booklist reviewer Keir Graff observed that the author "gets the details exactly right."

Shade, who was born in Altoona, Pennsylvania, told Kingsbury that his work has been influenced by Southern writers such as Barry Hannah, Carson McCullers, Padgett Powell, and Flannery O'Connor. "It's hard for me to gauge how they have influenced me," Shade remarked. "I think part of it has to do with a small-town rather than a big-city sensibility."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, April 15, 2003, Keir Graff, review of Eyesores, p. 1450.

Houston Chronicle, April 25, 2003, John Freeman, "Strangers to Luck."

Kirkus Reviews, February 1, 2003, review of Eyesores, p. 175.

Library Journal, March 15, 2003, Marcia Tager, review of Eyesores, p. 119.

ONLINE

Southern Scribe Web site,http://www.southernscribe.com/ (April 20, 2004), Pam Kingsbury, "Small Town Living."

University of Georgia Web site,http://www.ugapress.uga.edu/ (April 20, 2004).