John Vanderslice hails from southern Maryland, specifically the eccentric community of Moyaone, which was developed in the 1950s, and populated in the 60s and 70s, by a fearless crew of overeducated, wannabe hippies and anti-social survivalists escaping from Washington DC and its ruthlessly expanding white collar suburbs. After twelve years of Catholic schooling, and too many summers working as a lifeguard, he left the southern Maryland woods to attend the University of Virginia, from which he graduated in 1983. A series of silly jobs, and a flurry of different addresses, in the Washington DC metro area finally led to him entering the MFA in Poetry Writing program at George Mason University in 1986, where he studied under Peter Klappert and Susan Tichy. He graduated in 1991 and started teaching writing to college freshmen at GMU and Northern Virginia Community College-Annandale. In 1993, he entered the Ph.D program in the English Department at the University of Louisisana-Lafayette, located at the epicenter of the Cajun cultural world. After four years of fine dining, great music, and inspired literary fellowship he moved to Conway, Arkansas, where he began teaching part-time at the University of Central Arkansas while acting as a stay-at-home dad for his infant son. Seventeen years and another son later, he is Associate Professor in the Department of Writing at UCA, teaching fiction writing, poetry writing, and nonfiction writing both to undergraduates and to graduate students in the new Arkansas Writers MFA Workshop. He also serves as associate editor of Toad Suck Review magazine.
One of his sons is off to college to study gaming; the other is an angry adolescent into grunge.
His household is comprised of his wife Stephanie, his two sons, four cats, and a weird but lovable little dog named Mario who does not seem to understand that they do not need his protection from old ladies and friendly neighbors.
More than seventy of his stories, poems, essays, and one-act plays have appeared in literary journals and anthologies. A partial list of these journals includes Seattle Review, Versal, Sou’wester, Laurel Review, Crazyhorse, The Pinch, Southern Humanities Review, 1966, Squalorly, Foliate Oak, Red Wheelbarrow,and Exquisite Corpse. Some of the anthologies are Redacted Story, Chick for a Day, The Best of the First Line: Editors’ Picks 2002-2006, andTartts: Incisive Fiction from Emerging Writers.
He also maintains two blogs: Payperazzi, in which he writes about the writing life and the teaching writing life, and Creating Van Gogh, in which he muses on matters related to historical fiction.
You can employ the following links to find some of his works published in online journals and to watch a fiction reading he gave at the 2012 Vortex Magazine launch party on the campus of UCA.