Lexington, Virginia • August 23, 2011
A new book of stories by R.T. Smith, editor of "Shenandoah: The Washington and Lee University Review," will be published next month by Stephen F. Austin University Press in Texas.
"Sherburne" is about members of the same family spanning over a century with all but one story set primarily in Rockbridge County. According to Smith, "the serious tone of the book is set by the subjects of the first story in Sherburne, rape and murder, pursuit, the friction between the townspeople and the woods dwellers in a rough mountain county, the question of who really knows the truth."
Some of the stories in "Sherburne" won national prizes and most have been published in magazines such as "Virginia Quarterly Review," "Missouri Review" and "Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine."
"Ranging through time from the Civil War to the present, this intricate and exquisitely written collection further confirms that R. T. Smith is one of America's best writers. "Sherburne" is a magnificent achievement," said Ron Rash, an Appalachian poet, short story writer, novelist and writer.
Born in Washington, D.C., Smith was raised in Georgia and North Carolina. He received his B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, his M.A. from Appalachian State University and he also studied at Georgia Tech.
Smith taught at Auburn University for 19 years, serving as alumni writer-in-residence for his last 12 years there. He has been at W&L editing "Shenandoah" since 1995.
In addition to editing "Shenandoah," Smith is W&L's writer-in-residence, and teaches creative writing and literature courses at W&L and directs an internship program at "Shenandoah."
Smith has written three other collections of stories, "Faith," "Uke Rivers Delivers" and "Calaboose Epistles." He is the author of over 12 poetry collections, including "Outlaw Style: Poems," "The Hollow Log Lounge," "Brightwood" and "Messenger."
Smith has received one fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, two Virginia Arts Commission fellowships, three Alabama Arts Council fellowships and the Alabama Governor's Award for Achievement by an Artist. He also received three fellowships for an individual artist from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
Smith's writings have won the Pushcart Prize three times, have been published five times in "New Stories from the South," and have also been published in "Best American Short Stories," "Best American Poetry," "Atlantic Monthly" and "Southern Review," among others.
He won the Library of Virginia Poetry Book Award for "Messenger" and "Outlaw Style: Poems."