Tomlinson, Jim 1941-

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Tomlinson, Jim 1941-


Born 1941, in IL; married second wife, Gin Petty (a fiber artist); children: one daughter. Education: Attended University of Illinois. Hobbies and other interests: Walking, hiking.


Home—Berea, KY. E-mail—[email protected].


Writer. Worked previously as an manufacturing and product design engineer.


Al Smith Fellowship, Kentucky Arts Council, 2005; Walter E. Dakin Fellowship, Sewanee Writers Conference, 2006; Iowa Short Fiction Award, 2006; teaching fellowship, Wesleyan Writers Conference.


Things Kept, Things Left Behind (short stories), University of Iowa Press (Iowa City, IA), 2006.

Contributor of fiction and poetry to periodicals, including Five Points, Bellevue Literary Review, Shenandoah Review, Potomac Review, and Arts across Kentucky.


Jim Tomlinson is an award-winning short-story writer whose work is collected in Things Kept, Things Left Behind. Many of the stories in this volume show people who are somehow trapped by their past. The characters, most of them living in rural Kentucky as does their creator, are frequently faced with transitions that they don't know how to handle. In some cases, the protagonists are unaware of the hold their pasts have on them; in other cases, they long to break free, but they "are thwarted by a paralyzing inability to do so," according to Colleen Mondor in Booklist.

The title of the book is taken from two stories: "Things Kept," which shows two sisters in disagreement about whether or not to sell an antique desk; and "Things Left Behind," in which one of the sisters meets with the potential buyer, an old lover of hers, for an adulterous affair. The two characters "ring true and utterly human," as do all the characters in "a wonderful collection notable for its clean prose and tone of quiet, stubborn dignity," stated a Kirkus Reviews writer.

A Publishers Weekly reviewer praised Tomlinson for his power in handling shifts in perspective in this collection of stories, and for convincingly summoning up the characters' memories and their current circumstances. In addition, "Tomlinson frames the characters' rich vernaculars simply," concluded the reviewer. Joan Frank praised the collection in the Antioch Review, saying that although the stories are "uneven" in quality, "the best proffer a clean window into the human soul."



Antioch Review, spring, 2007, Joan Frank, review of Things Kept, Things Left Behind, p. 394.

Booklist, September 15, 2006, Colleen Mondor, review of Things Kept, Things Left Behind, p. 29.

Kirkus Reviews, August 1, 2006, review of Things Kept, Things Left Behind, p. 751.

Publishers Weekly, August 28, 2006, review of Things Kept, Things Left Behind, p. 29.


Eclectica Magazine, (June 23, 2007), Elizabeth Glixman, interview with Jim Tomlinson.

Jim Tomlinson Home Page, (June 23, 2007).