M. Randal O’Wain’s debut short story collection, Hallelujah Station and Other Stories, introduces readers to a wide and diverse cast of characters struggling with and responding to changes and loss. These gritty and poignant stories follow the tragic parts of life, the pieces that may neither start nor end in comfortable resolution and the pieces that make up complex realities. In the first story, a former drug dealer reflects on a life-changing decision he made years ago that ended up hurting the person he most wanted to protect. Later in the collection, we meet a would-be robber who turns out, in strange ways, to be the hero. O’Wain’s characters are often deeply flawed or totally lost, but in each instance, these traits serve to reveal the characters as real, compassionate, and, ultimately, human. Sprinkled with humor and heartache, O’Wain’s stories bring us into contact with the curious, the tragic, and the authentic.
M. Randal O’Wain is the author of Meander Belt: Family, Loss, and Coming of Age in the Working Class South. He is assistant teaching professor of creative writing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and serves as a National Endowment of the Arts Writing fellow at the Alderson Federal Correctional Institution. His work has been published in Oxford American, The Masters Review, Crazyhorse, Zone 3, and Guernica Magazine.
Read: Hallelujah Station, Zone 3 Press
Prompt: Write 10 things you associate with winter. Now take three items from your list and write specifically about each. Now weave these into a short piece. Aim for 300 words.