About the Author
Padgett Powell is the author of six novels, including Edisto, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and two collections of stories. His writing has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper's, and the Paris Review, as well as in The Best American Short Stories and The Best American Sports Writing. He has received a Whiting Writers' Award, the Rome Fellowship in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. He lives in Gainesville, Florida, where he teaches at MFA@FLA, the writing program of the University of Florida.
Padgett Powell's third collection, "Cries for Help, Various," includes 44 stories, some very short, that follow his mentor Donald Barthelme's advice that "the wacky mode must break readers' hearts." The surrealistic and comical terrain of most of the stories is grounded in their real preoccupation with longing, fear, work, loneliness, and cultural nostalgia. The language and thinking is lofty and low, cranky and heartfelt, exuberant and inconsolable. Powell's characters are rebels against convention whose concerns are less for independence than for the maintenance of sanity, the romance of giving up.