Ross Howell Jr.

Born in Charleston, West Virginia, Ross lived in nearby Nitro the first few months of his life. HIs father was a restless man and a bad drinker. They moved to Pine Bluff, Arkansas; Provo, then Orem, Utah; Richland, Washington; and Blaw-Knox, Pennsylvania. When he was six his mother decided that was enough and moved his sister and him to her birthplace, their grandmother’s farm in Floyd County, Virginia.

On a mountain farm with cattle, sheep, chickens, ducks, turkeys, and pigs, he felt he was gentry, since the old homeplace had electricity and indoor plumbing. The house of his great uncle, a widower who lived alone in a hollow a half mile away, featured neither convenience. Uncle George Weddle had neither car nor buggy and walked everywhere with his hickory cane and his old shepherd, Maxie. A natural storyteller, he gave Ross his first drink of wine, his first chew of tobacco, and the first book he ever received as a gift, a copy of Aesop’s Fables.

After graduating from high school in 1968, Ross attended the University of Virginia. There he was awarded the Gray-Carrington Scholarship Award, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, and the Raven Award. He had a prize story in the national collegiate writing contest sponsored by The Atlantic Monthly. A member of Phi Beta Kappa, he received a Danforth Foundation fellowship to attend graduate school. He earned an A.M. degree at Harvard University and an M.F.A. at the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa before pursuing a career in fund-raising, marketing, and book publishing.

His fiction has been published in the Virginia Quarterly ReviewSewanee ReviewGettysburg Review, and other magazines. When it is released by NewSouth Books in February 2016, Forsaken will be his first novel. Ross admits he should be old enough to know better. Part-time he teaches at Elon University. His home is in Greensboro, North Carolina, with his wife, Mary Leigh, an English cocker spaniel, Pinot, and two rescued pit bulls, Ellie and Sam.

Books from Blair

Forsaken (NewSouth Books)