Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter (Franklin)

Author Bio
Where—Dickinson, Alabama, USA
Education—B.A., University of South Alabama; M.F.A.
   University of Arkansas
Awards—Edgar Award; Guggeheim Fellowship; Writers at
   Work Literary Nonfiction Contest
Currently—lives in Oxford, Mississippi

Thomas G. Franklin was born in the small southern town of Dickinson, Alabama, in 1963. In 1981 he moved with his family to Mobile, Alabama, where he later attended the University of South Alabama in Mobile, earning his BA.

Working nights to put himself through school, Franklin took a variety a of jobs—as a heavy equipment operator at a sand-blasting grit factory, a construction inspector in a chemical plant, a clerk at a hospital morgue, and worker at hazardous waste clean-up sites. He earned his MFA at the University of Arkansas in 1998.

In 1999 Franklin returned to the University of South Alabama to teach; in the fall of that year, he was appointed the Phillip Roth Resident in Creative Writing at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. He then moved to Knox College, where he held the position of visiting Writer-in-Residence.

In 2000, Franklin became the John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence at University of Mississippi in Oxford, instructing both undergraduate and graduate students.

In 1999 Franklin published Poachers, a collection of short stories set in Alabama. The title story won him the Edgar Allan Poe Award as Best Mystery Story. His first novel, Hell at the Breech, was published in 2003. Based in Clark County, Alabama (Franklin's childhood home), it focuses on a local feud in 1899, which Franklin heard about growing up. Smonk, Franklin's second novel (in 2006), recounts a trial of a rapist/murderer in 1911 who terrorized the small town of Old Texas, Alabama. In 2010 Franklin published Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter—about the disappearance of two girls and the estrangement of boyhood friends, one black, one white.

Franklin's short stories and essays have been published in numerous magazines including the Chattahoochee Review, Brightleaf, Nebraska Review, Texas Review, Quarterly West, and Smoke magazine. His writings have also been included in anthologies, such as New Stories from the South; The Year's Best, 1999; Best American Mystery Stories, 1999 and 2000; and Best Mystery Stories of the Century.

In addition to the Edgar award, Franklin has been honored several times for his literary achievements. In 1998 he won the Writers at Work Literary Nonfiction Contest. He received the Arkansas Arts Council grant for the short story in August of 1998. He was also presented with a 2001 Guggenheim Fellowship, and the John and Renee Grisham Writer-in-Residence for the 2001- 2002 academic year.

Franklin and his wife Beth Ann Fennelly, a poet and associate professor at the University of Mississippi, have a daughter and son. (Adapted from Missisppi Writers & Musicians.) 

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