M. Randal O'Wain 

Randal O'Wain holds an MFA from Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program. He is the author of Meander Belt: family, loss, and coming of age in the working class south (American Lives Series, 2019) and Hallelujah Station and other stories (Autumn House Press, 2020) His essays and short stories have appeared in Oxford American, Guernica, The Pinch, Booth, Hotel Amerika, storySouth, among others. Agents, editors, and coordinators wishing to contact the author about events, publications, or manuscripts-in-progress should do so directly at mrandalowain@gmail.com M. Randal O’Wain offers a reflection on how a working-class boy from Memphis, Tennessee, came to fall in love with language, reading, writing, and the larger world outside of the American South. This memoir examines what it means for the son of a carpenter to value mental rather than physical labor and what this does to his relationship with his family, whose livelihood and sensibility are decidedly blue collar. Straining the father-son bond further, O’Wain leaves home to find a life outside Memphis, roaming from place to place, finding odd jobs, and touring with his band. From memory and observation, O’Wain assembles a subtle and spare portrait of his roots, family, and ultimately discovers that his working-class upbringing is not so antithetical to the man he has become.
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