Paul Byall

Winner of the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize

Yo no sé los salmos de las hojas secas
sino el sueño verde de la amarga tierra.
--Antonio Machado

A story about an aging former baseball player who, living alone on a low country island in South Carolina, encounters a young woman who claims to be his daughter from one of the many one-night stands of his youth.

News & Notes

Sept 23, 2017: Thanks to the good people at the Munster Literature Centre in Cork, Ireland for awarding my story "Dear Miss Jacobs" 2nd prize in the Seán Ó Faoláin International Short Story Competition. The story will appear in the January issue of the center's literary journal, Southword.

Feb. 27, 2017: I received notification today that my story "The Science Hour" has been selected a finalist for Mid-America Review's Sherwood Anderson Award. It caught me by surprise as the story is the darkest piece I've ever written. Maybe the current state of the country - symptomized by a deranged president - has put the judges in a dark mood.

Aug 8, 2016: "Measuring Up", a story I kept on the shelf for 6 years before finally submitting to Bosque a few months ago, will appear in the Fall issue.

May 18, 2016: Literary blogger Ann Graham has written a very nice review of my story, "Henry's Ghosts", published in the latest issue of December Magazine. You can read it here.

Sept 25, 2015: I submitted two novels for the William Faulkner William Wisdom First Novel Award, Ridgeland in the completed novel category and Trencadis in the novel-in-progress category. Both were selected finalists, and Trencadis made the short list, but, alas, neither won.

Marina Ginesta, 17 years old, on the rooftop of the Hotel Colon in Barcelona, 1936. She died two years ago last January at 94 in Paris. Although the picture to the left became well-known; indeed, graced the cover of a book about the Spanish Civil War, she was unaware of its existence until a journalist told her about it when she was 85.

Anarchist militia after defeating the attempted military coup in Barcelona in July 1936. On July 19, 1936, high-ranking Spanish generals, including Franco, attempted a coup against the duly elected Republican government. The coup was quickly quashed in most of Spain, including in Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia, but succeeded in Andalusia and in parts of the north and northwest. It wasn't the Republican government that put down the coup, but ordinary workers who took to the streets to fight the insurgents. In Barcelona these workers were overwhelming members of the anarchist CNT (Confederacion Nacional de Trabajo).

Anarchist women in the Spanish Civil War. Note the traditional anarchist caps on two of the women.

July 16, 2015: I just received word from December magazine that my short story, "Henry's Ghosts" is a finalist for the Curt Johnson Fiction Award. Joyce Carol Oates will judge.

"The Genie at Low Tide" now has 17 reviews on Amazon, all 5 stars.

Nov 19, 2014: I did an interview for Wordpress's new feature, "Speaking of Marvels" some time back which has just gone live. Click on interviews to access it.

October 15, 2014: Ploughshares has just released Omnibus 2, it's second collection of Ploughshares Solos, which contains "The Genie at Low Tide". If you like stories and/​or well-written essays, I highly recommend you order a copy. Among my personal favorites are Brendan Jones' novella (the longest story in the collection) "The Outside Passage" and Aurelie Sheehan's "This Blue", but really, every piece in the collection is time well-spent.

07/​05/​2014. You can now listen to "The Genie at Low Tide" on your smart phone. Amazon has just released the audio version, and it's available here.

I see Amazon has raised the price of the e-story to $1.99. But it's still cheap, so if you haven't yet downloaded a copy of "The Genie at Low Tide" please do so. It's a bargain.

Press Release: Sept. 1, 2011. Paul Byall wins The Porter Fleming Short Story Award. The final judge, Cecelia Tichi, Professor of literature at Vanderbilt, cited the story for its "skillful combination of allusion and specificity, its deft handling of time changes and its plotting."

Press Release (sometime in 2010): Final judge Sheri Reynolds, best-selling author of five novels, named Paul Byall of Savannah, Georgia, the winner of the 2010 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize for his story "Sequestered". Reynolds said of this story, whose main character, Maggie, finds herself sequestered as a jury member at a murder trial, "This writer brilliantly controls the story's tempo, moving between scene and summary, between details of the murder and the trial itself. The story is controlled, complicated and graceful."

A few days after the release of "The Genie" I got a call from one Linda Sickler at our local rag, The Savannah Morning News. Linda wanted to do an interview, so I asked her to email me some questions. You can read the interview here.

12-05-12 News: In the same week I’ve been informed that my novel Ridgeland, was selected 2nd runner up in the William Faulkner-William Wisdom First Novel Competition for the Novel-in- Progress category and that my story “The Genie at Low Tide” will be published by Ploughshares as a Ploughshares Solo in May. Ploughshares Solos can be purchased (usually for 99 cents) as e-stories from the Ploughshares web site or from Amazon.

05-25-12. You can now read my latest published work, "Do You Remember Me?" in it's entirety under Selected Works. The story was the winner of the Porter Fleming Short Fiction Prize. The final judge, Professor Cecelia Tichi of Vanderbilt, cited the story for its "skillful combination of allusion and specificity, its deft handling of time changes and its plotting."

The drawing on the left is by Rudy Van Giffen and was lifted from the website of the Association Trencavel, created and maintained by one Monique de Camps, which contains some information about Ramon-Roger Trencavel, viscount of Beziers-Carcassonne, and the Cathar Crusades, including a wonderful video on the life of the viscount. The video is accompanied by an even more wonderful old Occitan song, Se Canta. Se Canta is the unofficial anthem of Occitania, as well as the official anthem of the Aran Valley in Catalonia, Spain. To see the video, you need to scroll to near the bottom of the page, but it's worth it, and I would encourage anyone remotely interested in the Cathar Crusades to visit the website:

Selected Works

In 1992, as Barcelona prepares for the Summer Olympics, an elderly Catalan veteran of the Spanish Civil War tells the story of his youth.
A stranger drives a high-end Mercedes with California plates into a repair shop in a small Midwestern town and never returns for it,
Short Stories
December magazine, Spring 2016. Finalist for the Curt Johnson Fiction Award
An aging former baseball player living alone on a low country island in South Carolina encounters a young woman who claims to be his daughter from one of many one-night stands of his youth. Published as a Ploughshares Solo and available on Amazon.
Bellingham Review, Spring 2012 Winner 2011 Porter Fleming Short Story Award
Winner, 2008 New South Award
Finalist, 2008 David Nathan Meyerson Prize
Finalist, 2008 Willesden International Fiction Prize

Finalist,2009 Arthur Edelstein Short Story Award

Quick Links

Find Authors