Paul Luikart

Fiction Writer

Author's Bio

Good fiction tells the truth of the world to the people who inhabit it, whether those people care to know the truth or not. And, of course, the truth stays true in all kinds of weather, even for the person who walks in the rain and claims that it’s sunny. Now, the John Keats people might say that it’s beauty enough for truth to be truth. “In fact,” I can hear them saying, “there cannot be more beauty than truth.” I’m not sure that’s true. The John Keats opposition, as if there were such thing as a codified group of anti-John Keats people, might say that in order for truth to be beautiful, it also has to be actionable. It’s not enough to simply be true, but beauty is truth and truth is beauty, in both of their brightest forms, when truth and beauty lead to action that opposes the ugly, the hideous, and the detestable. Even if that action is internal. To think differently, for example. Or even to consider thinking differently. If truth, though, in and of itself, is not inherently beautiful, then it is inherently redemptive. This can and should be found in good fiction. When fiction is written well, it provides a view not only to humanity’s bloody past and present, but also to the possibility of a peaceful future for all people.

Publications & Prizes

Metropolia (Ghostbird Press, 2021)
The Museum of Heartache (Pski’s Porch Publishing, 2021)
Animal Heart (Hyperborea Publishing, 2016)
Brief Instructions (Ghostbird Press, 2017)
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Cheap Pop
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Johnny America
Mojave River Review
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Santa Fe Writers Project
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Synaesthesia Magazine
The Monarch Review
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Prizes won: 

Nominated by Flash Frog for Pushcart Prize and Best American Short Story anthology, 2021 

Finalist, Southern Literature Alliance’s Distinguished Local Author Award, 2021 

Inclusion in Best Microfiction anthology, selected by Dan Chaon, 2019 

Winner of Nassau Review’s Writer Award in Prose, 2019 

Selected for writing residencies at Collegeville Institute/St. John’s University (Collegeville, MN), 2018, 2015 

Story collection, Animal Heart, short-listed for the Sou’wester First Book Award, 2016 

Finalist in Wyvern Lit’s flash fiction contest, 2015 

Nominated by WhiskeyPaper for Queen’s Ferry Press Best Small Fictions, 2014 

Nominated by Vector Press for Pushcart Prize, 2013 

Finalist in Red Hen Press’ fiction contest, 2010 

Finalist in NPR’s 3 Minute Fiction Contest, selected by James Wood, 2009 

Personal Favorites

Favorite authors: 
Nelson Algren, Willa Cather, Douglas Coupland, Graham Greene, Ma Jian, Denis Johnson, CS Lewis, Cormac McCarthy, Flannery O'Connor, Lewis Nordan, Annie Proulx, Jamie Quatro, George Saunders, William Shakespeare, JRR Tolkein
What I'm reading now: 
Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry, The Neon Wilderness by Nelson Algren

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Prefers to work with: 
At Risk Youth, Disability, Homelessness, Incarcerated individuals, LGBTQ, Mental Health, Seniors, Teachers, Teenagers, Veterans
Fluent in: 
Born in: 
Canton, OH
Raised in: 
North Canton, OH
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last update: Jan 05, 2022