David Jauss

Fiction Writer, Poet

Little Rock, AR
Arkansas US

Author's Bio

I was born in Minnesota in 1951 and studied creative writing at Southwest Minnesota State University, Syracuse University, and the University of Iowa. An emeritus professor at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, I currently teach in the low-residency MFA in Writing Program at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

When people ask me what my fiction and poetry is about, I'm never sure how to answer. It's easier to say what they aren't about: my own life. As I say in my essay "Autobiographobia: Writing and the Secret Life," in my stories and poems I have tried to write my way into many characters whose lives I know nothing, or next to nothing, about. On paper, I have been--or at least tried to be--a nun, a serial killer, a bag lady, a nine-year-old boy, a 99-year-old man, a woman afflicted with hysterical blindness, a teenager who witnesses his father's nervous breakdown, a man with an artificial hand, a divorcee, a minor league baseball player from the Dominican Republic, a Hmong refugee, a 16th-century Spanish priest, a 19th-century Russian dwarf, the biblical Lazarus, and several actual writers (including Gustave Flaubert, Anton Chekhov, and Franz Kafka) and numerous actual jazz musicians (including Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, and Sun Ra). If there's a common denominator in all of the people I've written about, I don't know what it is. All I know is that I have been drawn to them and their lives and that they have created me as much as I have created them.

Publications & Prizes


The Pushcart Book of Short Stories (Pushcart Press, 2002)
The Pushcart Prize XVI: Best of the Small Presses (Pushcart Press, 1992)
Best American Short Stories (Houghton Mifflin, 1991)
The Pushcart Prize XIV: Best of the Small Presses (Pushcart Press, 1990)
Prize Stories 1983: The O. Henry Awards (Doubleday, 1983)
Glossolalia: New & Selected Stories (Press 53, 2013)
On Writing Fiction (Writer's Digest Books, 2011)
Words Overflown by Stars (Writer's Digest Books, 2009)
Alone With All That Could Happen (Writer's Digest Books, 2008)
Black Maps (University of Massachusetts Press, 1996)
The Best of Crazyhorse (University of Arkansas Press, 1990)
Crimes of Passion (Story Press, 1984)
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You Are Not Here (Fleur-de-lis Press, 2002)
Improvising Rivers (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 1995)
Strong Measures (Harper & Row, 1986)
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Paris Review
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The Nation
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The AWP Award for Short Fiction, the Fleur-de-Lis Poetry Prize, a Best American Short Stories selection, an O. Henry Prize, two Pushcart Prizes, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, three fellowships from the Arkansas Arts Council, one fellowship from the Minnesota State Arts Board, and a James A. Michener/Copernicus Society of America Fellowship.

More Information

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Montevideo, MN
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Last update: Jul 16, 2016