Fresh Writers Series, Part IV

Last year I started a “Fresh Writers Series” here on Writing Reconsidered in order to spotlight different emerging writers whose work I’ve stumbled across and–for one reason or another–fallen in love with. Last April, I focused on writer and academic (soon to be Dr.) Haylie Swenson. Now, I’d like to throw some attention to Mr. Casey Quinn.

I first encountered Casey Quinn’s work through Post Road Magazine (Issue 28)with his short story, “Grandpap’s Burials.” Here’s a little teaser:

“At noon, Grandpap takes aim and shoots the crow in our garden.

‘Get it, boy, sniff it,’ he says, shooing me with one hand. I burst out the back door into the heat, sprinting towards the trellis on which the grapevines grow.

The crow is four feet, four inches and boy-shaped.”

Quinn’s “Grandpap’s Burials” arrested my attention immediately with its dark, snappy intro. But Quinn kept my attention with consistently sharp prose, smart imagery, and fascinating characters. Throughout the entire story, Quinn exhibits tremendous control and restraint, giving us readers only exactly what we need and not a syllable more.

Clocking in at 963 words, “Grandpap’s Burials” could rightly be considered a work of flash fiction rather than a full short story, but this doesn’t mean it skimps on depth. In my opinion, the best short stories are those that know how to steer a reader onto the proper street, into the proper building, up to the proper floor, into the proper hall, and then leaves them there, standing before a row of doors, some locked, some simply closed, some cracked open, and some flung wide as a scream. Quinn manages just this feat here with “Grandpap’s Burials.”

But perhaps what’s most impressive is that this is Quinn’s first published story. What’s more, Post Road Magazine announced only this past December their nominees for the Pushcart Prize, and Quinn’s debut story made the cut. Congratulations, Quinn!

Here’s the bio Post Road provides:

Casey Quinn is originally from Upstate New York. He has received scholarships from Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, The Community of Writers at Squaw Valley, and Hamilton College. This is his first published story.

Congratulations again, Casey Quinn, both for having such a strong debut publication and for being nominated for the Pushcart Prize!

I definitely expect to be reading more of your work very soon, Quinn. Keep writing!

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