As part of our tenth anniversary celebration, we want to recognize an author who has been with us since the very beginning. Over the past decade, Poe Ballantine has graced our catalogue with two incredible novels, God Clobbers Us All and Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire along with two collections of nonfiction short stories entitled Things I Like About America, and 501 Minutes to Christ. He’s also currently working on two upcoming Hawthorne titles, including the nonfiction effort Love and Terror on the Howling Plains of Nowhere and a novel.
But we’re not the only ones excited about Poe Ballantine. Library Journal says:
Ballantine is never far from the trenches … the essays are readable and entertaining and contain occasional moments of startling beauty and insight.
Released in our first year, Things I Like About America tours small town America with a style reminiscent of David Sedaris, Barbara Ehrenreich, and Scott Carrier. Minimum wage jobs, boarding buses, and beer make up this middle America narrative. What more could you need?
God Clobbers Us All tells the story of Edgar Donahoe, a surfer boy with a colored past navigating life with a menagerie of eccentric characters. Between an adulterous relationship with the wife of a war veteran and his friend’s disappearance following a disastrous LSD party, Edgar’s adventures are narrated with a quirky style unique to Ballantine.
Publisher’s Weekly says,
It’s impossible not to be charmed by Edgar Donahoe.
Donohoe appears again as the protagonist in Decline of the Lawrence Welk Empire. This time Edgar is embroiled in a love triangle in the Caribbean following his expulsion from college. Ballantine continues the adventures of Edgar with more enigmatic characters and intelligent humor. And finally, 501 Minutes to Christ is a collection of personal essays offering insight into Ballantine’s journey through his literary career.
If you haven’t checked out these titles from a beloved author who is a major part of our catalogue be sure to get your hands on these fantastic reads. Experience an edgy literary voice that represents Hawthorne and unapologetically stands apart from the norm.
Mr. Ballantine’s own reflections on his literary career illustrate a strong devotion to his craft regardless of the obstacles publishing houses face in the current market. Ballantine insists,
I still look at writing as a business, but only as a sort of lemonade stand out in the front yard (unless lightning strikes or Oprah pulls up in her limo, rolls down the window, and belches out the four syllables of my name in a pepperoni mist).
Poe Ballantine currently lives in Chadron, Nebraska. His work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, regularly in The Sun Magazine, Kenyon Review, and The Coal City Review. In addition to garnering numerous award nominations including The Pushcart Prize and The Pen/O. Henry Prize, Ballantine’s work has been included in the 1998 Best American Short Story and 2006 Best American Essay anthologies.