Jack Pendarvis left South Alabama about 15 years ago, settled in Atlanta, where he had a job for Turner Broadcasting, and where he wrote stories and received rejection notices for many years. A few years ago, he started having his often wacky stories accepted by such publications as McSweeney's, The Believer and The Oxford American. In short order, his work attracted the notice of the renowned author Barry Hannah, who was instrumental in Pendarvis' receiving the John Grisham Chair of Creative Writing at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, where Pendarvis now resides. Pendarvis is also a recipient of the prestigious Pushcart Prize, which honors the best work published by small presses.
Macadam Cage, a San Francisco literary publisher with a thing for Southern writers, has published two collections of Pendarvis' short fiction: The Mysteriouis Secret of the Valuable Treasure and Your Body is Changing. This summer, they published his first novel, Awesome, a bizarre, and somewhat grotesque, tale about a ridiculously self-absorbed giant named Awesome.
Pendarvis celebrated the novel's publication in his old hometown of Atlanta in mid-August, and the following morning sat down in the GPB studios with Cover to Cover's Frank Reiss. The giddiness from the previous evening had not yet subsided, and what ensued was a weaving, over-the-center-line conversation that threatened to roll off the side of the road and over an embankment at any moment. And, perhaps to the ears of some, did.
Which, appropriately enough, is a perfect introduction to the fiction of Jack Pendarvis.
Frank's interview with Jack Pendarvis airs Sunday at 8pm, repeats Thursday at 11:30 and can be heard on demand at gpb.org/covertocover.