Arnold Johnston

(269) 870-0703

Author's Bio

Arnold Johnston lives in Kalamazoo and South Haven, MI. His poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and translations have appeared widely in literary journals and anthologies. His books include two poetry chapbooks—Sonnets: Signs and Portents and What the Earth Taught Us—The Witching Voice: A Play about Robert Burns; Of Earth and Darkness: The Novels of William Golding; and The Witching Voice: A Novel from the Life of Robert Burns. His translations of Jacques Brel’s songs have appeared in numerous musical revues nationwide (including acclaimed Chicago productions Jacques Brel: Songs of Love and War and Jacques Brel’s Lonesome Losers of the Night), and are also featured on his CD, Jacques Brel: I’m Here! His plays, and others written in collaboration with his wife, Deborah Ann Percy, have won awards, production, and publication across the country. Their individually and collaboratively written plays have won some 100 productions, as well as numerous awards and publications across the country and internationally; and they’ve written, co-written, edited, or translated nearly twenty books. From 2009-2012 they were joint Arts and Entertainment columnists for the award-winning national quarterly journal Phi Kappa Phi Forum. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, The Playwrights’ Center, Theatre Communications Group, Poets & Writers, the Associated Writing Programs, and the American Literary Translators Association. He was chairman of the English Department (1997-2007) and taught creative writing for many years at Western Michigan University, where he co-founded the creative writing program and founded the playwriting program. He is now a full-time writer.

Publications and Prizes

The Witching Voice: A Novel from the Life of Robert Burns
(Wings Press, 2018)
, What the Earth Taught Us
(March Street Press, 1996)
FEAST: Poetry and Recipes for a Full Seating at Dinner
(Black Lawrence Press, 2014)
, New Voices: An Anthology of Michigan Poets
(Wayne State University Press, 2000)
, Third Coast
(Wayne State University Press, 2000)
Able Muse Review, Alabama Literary Review, Colorado Quarterly, Cumberland Poetry Review, Eclectic Literary Forum, Embers, Fan Magazine, Hiram Poetry Review, Indiana Review, Malahat Review, Metamorphoses, Midwest Quarterly, Outerbridge, Passages North, Phi Kappa Phi Forum, Poems & Plays, Rockford Review, Stone Country, Tar River Poetry Review, The Weathervane: A Journal of Great Lakews Writing, Two Lines
Sonnets: Signs and Portents
(Finishing Line Press, 2014)
Prizes Won: 
First Prize for Poetry for “Pantoum: Where We’re Going, Where We’ve Been,” 2016 Arkansas Science Festival Science Slam First Prize for “The Great Reviser” (2016 Spring Poetry Competition), Phi Kappa Phi Forum First Prize ($1,500), MemoryCare One-Act Competition, 2013, for "Steering into the Skid" (one-act play) Winner, Phi Kappa Phi Forum Summer 2009 Poetry Competition, for “What's Underneath” Finalist, 2009 Publication Prize, Snake Nation Press, for Spectators As We Are (poetry collection)

Personal Favorites

What I'm Reading Now: 
Bring Up the Bodies by Hillary Mantel
The Night Manager by John Le Carre
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer

More Information

Listed as: 
Fiction Writer, Poet
Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
Scotch-Irish American
Prefers to work with: 
Fluent in: 
Born in: 
Cambuslang, Scotland
Raised in: 
Detroit, MI
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Last updated: Nov 26, 2016