19 stories of fierce beauty told in a deceptively simple voice. An old man, living by & off the river; A young boy watches helpless as his father dies at Christmas; A couple rekindle romance in surprising ways; Jack Autry, defying all odds and surviving, in spite of or because of the risks. These characters, among others, are presented with great compassion and with pre-judgments. Standing to lose everything or having thing to lose, they never lose their dignity or their hor. With these bold works, Paul Ferguson proves himself worthy of being regarded as a poet of the dispossessed. A rising voice on the literary scene People Magazine He [Ferguson] can write! Joan Didion, author: White Album, The Year of Magical Thinking Here there are deep waters, but Ferguson never lets us sink. His voice is clear, the language sober and succinct. John F. Kelly, author: Tainting Evidence; Inside the Scandals at the FBI Crime Lab
Born 1946 in Selma Alabama, Paul Ferguson taught himself to read by matching words on shopping lists with the items they represented. From then on his admiration for writing and writers was immense. By age five, he was writing and illustrating stories for his younger siblings. In 5th grade his story, The Forgiveness, concerning the life of Judas after hanging himself, left no dry eye in the house, including Sister Theresa's after his first public reading. Beginning in 1963, with screenwriter Jack Marlowe, Mr. Ferguson worked and studied with writers from Los Angeles to New York, many of whom are now long since dead. 1966 saw his first professional assignment as Native American Civil Rights reporter for American Native Weekly, in Chicago. The following year an episode of The Wild, Wild West, he co-wrote with Jack Marlowe was originally aired 1965. ABC bought an option for his original half-hour/hour comedy-drama, Sweet Dream in 1968, but a prison sentence nixed the deal, and the network let the option expire. Mr. Ferguson began writing articles for the award winning San Quentin News and quickly achieved the position of editor, then soon was hired to write, produce, direct, and announce a nightly half-hour radio news program aired 7 nights a week, from 1972 until his release in 1975 from San Quentin. 1973 saw him finally working for ABC, and Truman Capote for a 90 minute documentary on death row. He won his first P.E.N. Award in the 1974 best short fiction category for Dream No Dreams, and was named PEOPLE magazine's Writer To Watch. The story has been published in 29 languages and in at least 50 countries. He developed and taught college level creative writing courses at San Quentin and studied under Gordon Lish, future editor of ESQUIRE magazine, among others. Upon release, writing articles on subjects based on what the market was demanding, he worked his way back to Alabama from California. His last newspaper appearance was in 1983 with Shipwrecked for The Selma Times Journal. He continued writing short stories and two filmographies on B Westerns. He also self-published The Adventures of Bar-D, a 180 page novella which sold 9,500 copies by word of mouth alone. He has won the P.E.N. Award four times: 1974 for fiction, Dream No Dreams 2000; for the essay, The Horror, 2004 for The Dog, a poem and 2002 best drama, Everything That's Cool. His next book, a novel, will be published 2010 by Atna Ink.