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Writer Pinckney Benedict was born in Lewisburg on April 11, 1964, the son of a prominent local family, and grew up on the family dairy farm in Greenbrier County. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University in 1986 and an M.F.A. degree from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1988.

Benedict published two collections of short stories, Town Smokes and The Wrecking Yard, and the novel Dogs of God. All three were named Notable Books by the New York Times Book Review. After a hiatus of 14 years, he published a new collection of short stories, Miracle Boy, in 2010. He collaborated on an award-winning 2012 short film based on his story “Miracle Boy.”

His stories and nonfiction have appeared in magazines and anthologies such as Esquire, New Stories from the South, The Oxford Book of American Short Stories, and the O. Henry Awards anthology. Benedict has received several awards, including Britain’s Steinbeck Award, the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award, inclusion in the Pushcart Prize XXI anthology, and the Henfield Foundation’s Transatlantic Review Awards.

His plays have received staged readings and performances at the Greenbrier Valley Theatre in Lewisburg. Several of his short stories have been adapted for short films and television in the U.S. and Europe. He completed a feature-length screenplay, an adaptation of Four Days by Canadian novelist John Buell. The film premiered at the 1999 Toronto International Film Festival and was distributed on video by Paramount. Additionally, he wrote the screenplay for Dogs of God for Gerard de Thame Films, London. He also wrote the lyrics and libretto for the 2016 A:The Scarlet Letter, a musical adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel.

His fifth book, Papa Whiskey Tango, is forthcoming. Pinckney Benedict is professor of English at Southern Illinois University.

This Article was written by Judie Smith

Last Revised on June 19, 2023

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Smith, Judie "Pinckney Benedict." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 19 June 2023. Web. 22 July 2024.


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