George Singleton | Staff Picks
From the venue:
A Cappella Books
208 Haralson Avenue NE
Atlanta, GA 30307
Comic maestro George Singleton will visit the store to discuss and sign copies of his latest short story collection "Staff Picks."
The new collection provides a loosely linked baker’s dozen of stories set in small, often-floundering towns such as Steepleburg, which once boasted more congregations per capita than anywhere in the southeastern U.S., and Poke, home to a dedicated chapter of Optimists International. A woman tries to win an RV in a radio station’s contest, so she can drive the vehicle through the plate glass window of a business that cheated her; a father vacillates on telling his teenage son the truth about the boy’s mother; a character discovers an uncle’s infidelities; a father parades his young son around, meeting women who could’ve been the boy’s mother; a husband and wife confront adult trick-or-treaters dressed as Jesus and the two thieves, while still grieving the accidental death of their son. In turns both comic and tragic, Singleton shows characters trying to make sense out of the Old South, the New South, and the New New South in all their ragged glory.
About the Book
It’s Father’s Day 1972 and a young boy’s dad takes him to visit a string of unimpressive ex-girlfriends that could have been his mother; the unconventional detective work of a koan-speaking, Kung Fu–loving uncle solves a case of arson during a pancake breakfast; and a former geology professor, recovering from addiction, finds himself sharing a taxicab with specters from a Jim Crow–era lynching. Set in and around the fictional town of Steepleburg, South Carolina, the loosely tied stories in George Singleton’s "Staff Picks" place sympathetic, oddball characters in absurd, borderline surreal situations that slowly reveal the angst of southern history with humor and bite.
In the tradition of Donald Barthelme, T. C. Boyle, Flannery O’Connor, and Raymond Carver, Singleton creates lingering, darkly comedic tales by drawing from those places where familiarity and alienation coexist. A remarkable and distinct effort from an acclaimed chronicler of the South, "Staff Picks" reaffirms Singleton’s gift for crafting short story collections that both deliver individual gems and shine as a whole.
George Singleton has published seven collections of stories, two novels, and a book of writing advice. Over 200 of his stories have appeared in magazines such as the Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, Playboy, the Georgia Review, the Southern Review, the Cincinnati Review, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship, the Hillsdale Award from the Fellowship of Southern Writers, and the Corrington Award for Literary Excellence. He lives in Spartanburg, SC, where he holds the John C. Cobb Chair in Humanities at Wofford College.