University of Mississippi

Ann Fisher-Wirth

Kevin Fitchett and Ann Fisher-Wirth

The Lay of the Land

by Richard Ford

National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist
New York Times Best Book of the Year

A sportswriter and a real estate agent, husband and father –Frank Bascombe has been many things to many people. His uncertain youth behind him, we follow him through three days during the autumn of 2000, when his trade as a realtor on the Jersey Shore is thriving. But as a presidential election hangs in the balance, and a postnuclear-family Thanksgiving looms before him, Frank discovers that what he terms “the Permanent Period” is fraught with unforeseen perils. An astonishing meditation on America today and filled with brilliant insights, The Lay of the Land is a magnificent achievement from one of the most celebrated chroniclers of our time.

Open House

by Beth Ann Fennelly

“With its high spirits, its love of textures of different kinds of writing . . . [this] is an immensely lively performance.” —Robert Hass

Poachers: Stories


by Tom Franklin







In ten stunning and bleak tales set in the woodlands, swamps and chemical plants along the Alabama River, Tom Franklin stakes his claim as a fresh, original Southern voice. His lyric, deceptively simple prose conjures a world where the default setting is violence, a world of hunting and fishing, gambling and losing, drinking and poaching-a world most of us have never seen. In the chilling title novella (selected for the anthologies New Stories from the South: The Year’s Best, 1999 and Best Mystery Stories of the Century), three wild boys confront a mythic game warden as mysterious and deadly as the river they haunt. And, as a weathered, hand-painted sign reads: “Jesus is not coming.” This terrain isn’t pretty, isn’t for the weak of heart, but in these deperate, lost people, Franklin somehow finds the moments of grace that make them what they so abundantly are: human.




by Ann Fisher-Wirth

True Blood

by Chris Offutt

Shut Up, Ugly

by Jack Pendarvis

On the heels of Phillip Marlowe and Mike Hammer comes Jack Pendarvis’ gumshoe Burns. Or…not. At first glance, Shut Up, Ugly has all the ingredients for a hardboiled hit: A gun in the back. A sock to the jaw. A threatening dwarf. A sinister millionaire. A simple tail job that takes a wrong turn. Dames, dames, and more dames. All this case needs is a great detective. Unfortunately, Burns isn’t it. He’s bad with details, prone to navel-gazing, incurious, and a little slow. But to be fair, Burns isn’t even a detective, just a would-be philanderer mistaken for a private eye when he ducks in the wrong doorway while eluding an angry husband. What Burns needs is a new identity, at least temporarily. But when he pretends to be the tough private dick everyone thinks he is, Burns isn’t counting on the kind of adventure that just might change his life forever. Or not.

Josh Weil


Josh Weil was born in the Appalachian Mountains of rural Virginia to which he returned to write the novellas in his first book, The New Valley.

A New York Times Editors Choice, The New Valley won the Sue Kaufman Prize for First Fiction from The American Academy of Arts and Letters; the New Writers Award from the GLCA; a “5 Under 35” Award from the National Book Foundation; and was shortlisted for the Library of Virginia’s literary award in fiction.  Weil’s other fiction has appeared in such publications asGranta, One Story and Agni, and he has written non-fiction for The New York Times, Oxford American, and Poets & Writers.  The recipient of fellowships and awards from the Fulbright Foundation, the Dana Foundation, the Bread Loaf and Sewanee Writers’ Conferences, the James Merrill House, and the MacDowell Colony, he has taught at Bowling Green State University as the Distinguished Visiting Writer and been the Tickner Writer-in-Residence at Gilman School.

Currently living and teaching in Oxford, MS, as the University of Mississippi’s John & Rene Grisham Emerging Southern Writer 2011-2012, he is at work on a novel.

Selected Publications

  • The New Valley (2009)

W111 Bondurant Hall
jweil at

Richard Ford, Professor of English and Senior Fiction Writer