Spatz, Gregory 1964–
Spatz, Gregory 1964–
PERSONAL: Born 1964, in New York, NY; married second wife, Caridwen Irvine (a musician); children: two stepsons. Education: Haverford College, B.A.; University of New Hampshire, M.A.; University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, M.F.A.
CAREER: Writer, educator, and musician. Eastern Washington University, Inland Northwest Center for Writers, Spokane, WA, director of the MFA program; John Reischman and the Jaybirds bluegrass band, violinist. Previously taught fiction at the University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, and the University of Memphis, TN.
AWARDS, HONORS: Fellowships from the Michener-Copernicus Society of America, 1996, Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, 1996, and the Washington State Artist Trust, 1999, 2003; Mid-List Press First Series Award in short fiction, 2000; Washington State Book Award, 2003, for Wonderful Tricks.
No One but Us, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC), 1995.
Wonderful Tricks: Stories, Mid-List Press (Minneapolis, MN), 2002.
Fiddler's Dream: A Novel, Southern Methodist University Press (Dallas, TX), 2006.
Short stories have appeared in literary journals and magazines, including the New Yorker, Glimmer Train Stories, Iowa Review, Epoch, Indiana Review, Journal, Shenandoah, and the New England Review.
SIDELIGHTS: Gregory Spatz is the author of novels and short stories. In his debut novel, No One but Us, the author tells the story of Charlie, who at the age of fifteen has an affair with his mother's best friend, Jolene, who is twenty-six. Eventually Jolene ends the relationship and moves away. Charlie grows up and is working as a sales clerk in Philadelphia when he learns from his mother that Jolene is living in San Francisco as a lesbian. Charlie, who is now in his twenties, and his girlfriend Angel travel across the country so Charlie can track down Jolene and talk with her about his guilt over the affair and how it has affected his life. A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that the author's "story engages the reader with the compelling parallel voyages of self-discovery" that include Jolene's, Angel's and his mother's lives.
In his collection Wonderful Tricks: Stories, Spatz presents ten previously published short stories. "The loneliness and awkwardness of single parenting—for the adolescent child and the parent—figure prominently in Spatz's earnest, understated collection," noted a Kirkus Reviews contributor. A reviewer writing in Publishers Weekly commented that the author "explores the complicated, often bewildering emotions behind various forms of love." The reviewer also wrote that the author describes "his characters' inner lives in expressive but unadorned prose." Referring to them as "low-key stories" in a review in Booklist, Joanne Wilkinson also wrote that the stories are "filled with unexpected insight."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, August, 2002, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Wonderful Tricks: Stories, p. 1926.
Kirkus Reviews, July 15, 2002, review of Wonderful Tricks, p. 994.
Publishers Weekly, June 19, 1995, review of No One but Us, p. 48; September 2, 2002, review of Wonderful Tricks, p. 55.
Eastern Washington University Web site, http://www.ewu.edu/ (March 26, 2006), faculty profile of author.
Gregory Spatz Home Page, http://www.gregoryspatz.com (April 18, 2006).
Mid-list Press Web site, http://www.midlist.org/ (March 26, 2006), profile of author.
Spokesman-Review.com, http://www.spokesmanreview.com/ (February 3, 2004), Dan Webster, "Gregory Spatz," interview with author.