Poet and prose writer Shann Ray’s collection of stories, AMERICAN MASCULINE, is the winner of the American Book Award and the High Plains Book Award. American Masculine was selected for the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference prestigious Katherine Bakeless Nason Literary Publication Prize and appears with Graywolf Press. He is also the author of Forgiveness and Power in the Age of Atrocity (Rowman & Littlefield), and The Spirit of Servant Leadership co-edited with Larry Spears (Paulist Press). He writes poetry and prose as Shann Ray in honor of his mother Saundra Rae, and social science as Shann Ray Ferch. He played college basketball at Montana State University and Pepperdine University and professional basketball in Germany. He now lives with his wife and three daughters in Spokane, Washington where he teaches leadership and forgiveness studies at Gonzaga University. His book of poems, Balefire, is forthcoming with Lost Horse Press.
Born and raised in Montana, Ray’s powerful, graceful writing considers the nature of humanity with regard to violence and forgiveness. He holds a dual MFA in poetry and fiction from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University, a Masters in clinical psychology from Pepperdine, and a PhD in systems psychology from the University of Alberta in Canada. He is a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow and has served as a research psychologist for the Centers for Disease Control and as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Humanities. He has also served as a visiting scholar in the Netherlands, Colombia, Canada, the Philippines, and South Africa, and is the editor of The International Journal of Servant Leadership published by SUNY Press.
His stories and poems have appeared in some of America’s top literary venues including Poetry, McSweeney’s, Story Quarterly, Poetry International, Northwest Review, Narrative, and William and Mary Review. Ray is the winner of the subTerrain Poetry Prize, the Crab Creek Review Fiction Award, the Pacific Northwest Inlander Short Story Award, the Ruminate Short Story Prize, and the Creative Writing Distinguished Alumni Award from Eastern Washington University. His work has been selected as notable in the Best American Nonrequired Reading and Best of the West anthologies, as a finalist for the Western Writers of America Spur Award in short fiction, and appeared in the Best New Poets and Best of McSweeney’s anthologies. His influences include Sandra Alcosser, Claire Davis, Milan Kundera, James Welch, A.B. Guthrie, William Kittredge, Richard Hugo, Richard Ford, Katerina Rudcenkova, and Mary Oliver.
Click on this to see Shann and his brother Kral throwing down:
… serious dunks begin at the 4 minute mark
And here’s an interview of Shann by Shawn Vestal: