John Mort 

Down Along the Piney is John Mort’s fourth short-story collection and winner of the 2018 Richard Sullivan Prize in Short Fiction. With settings in Florida, California, Mexico, Chicago, the Texas Panhandle, and, of course, the Ozarks themselves, these thirteen stories portray the unsung, amusing, brutal, forever hopeful lives of ordinary people. Mort chronicles the struggles of “flyover” people who live not just in the Midwest, but anywhere you can find a farm, small town, or river winding through forested hills. Mort, whose earlier stories have appeared in the New Yorker, GQ, and the Chicago Tribune, is the author of the award-winning Vietnam War novel Soldier in Paradise, as well as Goat Boy of the Ozarks and The Illegal. These ironic, unflaggingly honest stories will remind the reader of Jim Harrison, Sherwood Anderson, and Shirley Jackson. And here's a lengthier one from five years ago:  John Mort’s first novel, Soldier in Paradise (1999), was widely reviewed and won the W. Y. Boyd Award for best military fiction. His earlier career was given over to short stories, which he published in such magazines as The New Yorker, GQ, The Boston Globe (Sunday magazine), and a host of quarterlies including The Iowa Review, The North American Review, The Missouri Review, and New Letters. The stories were gathered in two small-press collections, Tanks (1987) and The Walnut King (1990). His most recent books are Christian Fiction: A Guide to the Genre (2002), andRead the High Country: A Guide to Westerns (2006), reference books aimed at the library field. In 2011 he self-published two books under the imprint, Stockton Lake: Goat Boy of the Ozarks (a novel), and DONT MEAN NOTHIN: Vietnam War Stories. The latter has recently been published in audio by Books in Motion.               

Mort has been a reviewer for Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and several newspapers, and has worked as adult books editor at Booklist. He is currently a contributing editor and articles writer for the database NoveList, and he writes reviews for the Western Writers of America publication, Roundup, as well asfor Booklist. He has been a judge for the Publishers Weekly-administered ABNA contest. His online profiles can be found on Facebook and Scribd ( He has been an NEA fellow and is a two-time winner of the Missouri Library Association’s Author of the Year Award. In 2012, he won the Hackney Literary Award for his novel, ILLEGAL.              

Mort has an MFA and an MLS from the University of Iowa. He lives with his wife in Missouri and when he isn’t writing, spends his time gardening or working on a small house in the Ozarks. His recent experiences working in Dallas and camping in Texas back country led him to write his new novel, ILLEGAL.