Born in Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, Garry Craig Powell was quite the seasoned nomad before he became a writer – something he expresses succinctly on his website biography:
“Not until I was in my forties did I really dedicate my life to fiction. I’d wanted to be a writer since reading Wuthering Heights at the age of sixteen – an unusual inspiration for a working-class English boy – and started writing as an undergraduate at Cambridge. For two decades, I travelled and taught. I lived in Spain and Poland for periods of less than a year, Portugal for ten years, and the United Arab Emirates for eight years. I played semi-professionally in a band. I visited Africa and the Far East, trekked in the Himalayas, and scoured Europe on a ‘savage pilgrimage’ reminiscent of D.H. Lawrence’s.”
His years of travel came after completing a first degree at Cambridge University, covering various countries and continents, including two stints in the United Arab Emirates, the setting of his upcoming novel. Powell taught on the Women’s campus of the National University of Al Ain and later at Abu Dhabi Men’s College, which helped to give him unique insight into the Arab way of life. Previously, he had started his own language school in Portugal, which was then followed by the completion of an MA in Applied Linguistics at Durham University upon his return to England. Further academic achievement came soon after moving to Tucson, Arizona with his family, where he completed an MFA degree in Creative Writing. Powell has since settled in Conway, Arkansas, where he now teaches creative writing as an Associate Professor at the University of Central Arkansas and writes fiction.
As a header to his website, Powell references a quote from John Fowles’ The Collector: “It’s what you say that counts. It’s what distinguishes all great art from the other kind. The technically accomplished buggers are two a penny in any period.” As an experienced English teacher and linguist scholar Powell was already one of those “technically accomplished buggers” but sought to mine a deeper seam in the world of language and writing. Around 2004 he started publishing short fiction pieces in various magazines and journals and had a piece called Kamila and the King of Kandy accepted for the Best American Mystery Stories 2009 Anthology edited by Jeffery Deaver. Some of those early pieces were to become parts of his forthcoming novel, Stoning the Devil, a novel-in-stories that portrays life in the oil-rich emirates, and the cultural and psychological gulfs that abound there. His next novel will be about an Italian poet, playboy, war hero and statesman named Gabriele D’Annunzio and indeed, by his own admission, Powell tries to live like an Italian.
Ever active on the blogosphere, Powell maintains an interesting and informative blog where one can learn about sex in the Middle East among all and sundry topics gleaned from that part of the world. He lives with a calico cat and plays in a blues-rock band that he founded, called Slings and Arrows. His eldest son, James, is the singer of the Canadian-Portuguese band Dream Circus, and his younger son, William, lives in New Zealand.
Skylight Press is thrilled to publish Garry Craig Powell’s first full-length book, which we strongly believe will rival the best of what is currently available in the world of literary fiction.