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Archive for March, 2010

Bonnie Jo Campbell

Author Bonnie Jo Campbell

Bonnie Jo Campbell has led a life like a tall tale.

The six-foot, blonde Michigander has worked for Ringling Brothers’ Circus, earned a black belt in Kouburyu karate, and, before devoting her efforts to fiction, received a master’s degree in mathematics. She has led bike tours across Russia, raised more than one horse, and, most recently, received a nomination for the National Book Award for American Salvage, her second collection of short stories.

Following the cue of her first collection (Women and Other Animals) and her debut novel (Q Road), American Salvage deals with a rural Michigan of methamphetamine, unemployment, and millennial paranoia. Campbell’s characters are larger-than-life scrabblers whose love, fear, and devotion is rendered achingly throughout her work.

While in Portland for a reading and a brief stop at Pacific University (where she teaches in the low-residency program), Campbell took a minute to chat with me about Michigan, the process of her writing, and what to do when your professor says you’re “everything that’s wrong with fiction today.”

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