First Words

Matt Cashion’s novel, OUR 13th DIVORCE, won the 2017 Edna Ferber Fiction Award, judged by Robert Olmstead. His short story collection, Last Words of the Holy Ghost, won the 2015 Katherine Anne Porter Prize for short fiction, judged by Lee K. Abbott. Mr. Abbott said, “Listen: if you can find a collection of stories more cohesive, more ambitious in reach, more generous in its passion, and fancier in its footwork, I will buy it for you and deliver it in person.” Cashion’s first novel, How the Sun Shines on Noise, (2004) “…invites comparison’s to John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces….an entertaining and memorable Southern picaresque” (Charlotte Observer).

That water up there? That’s the salt-water tidal creek Matt and his cousins swam in as children; it runs behind his mother’s house and his grandmother’s house in Brunswick, GA, and it’s a character inĀ Our 13th Divorce. His first home was North Wilkesboro, NC, in the Blue Ridge mountains where he was born, where his first words were mumbled, where his father’s side of the family still lives and where some of his other writing is set.

Prior to earning an MFA from the University of Oregon, Cashion was an award-winning journalist. After working with facts for two years, he graduated to other jobs such as piano-moving, bartending, and 3rd shift convenience store clerking. He lives now in beautiful western Wisconsin, next to the Mississippi River, where he is happy to be employed as a professor of creative writing and literature at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. He lives with Heather, his partner, and their many wild and domestic animals.