Award-Winning Storybook by a SLU Teacher Challenging Reality | Books and Authors



TOWNSHIP – Saint-Laurent University English professor Pedro Ponce has published a book of stories that explore human reality and possibilities through the power of storytelling.

The book, “The Devil and the Dairy Princess,” published by Indiana University Press, includes 10 stories that are described by the publisher as “perfect for any reader who enjoys literary realism or speculative fiction.”

Inspired by the TV show “The Twilight Zone”, Mr. Ponce was eager to explore how story structure can encourage readers to question and alter human reality and possibilities.

“I view this book as stories about stories that come to life through the flesh and blood of different characters,” Mr. Ponce said in a press release. “This type of storytelling can often be seen as the opposite of realistic fictional-abstract experiences in language and structure that don’t involve ‘real’ emotions and situations, but I don’t think so. . We probably build the world and our view of it story by story, starting with the earliest stories we hear as children. Playing with the structure of history – questioning and even revising it – plunges us deeper into human reality and possibilities. I hope readers enjoy this perspective on the power of stories.

In 2020, the book won the Indiana Review’s Don Belton Fiction Prize, which “recognizes an intelligent sense of language, takes some risk and has consequences beyond the world of its narrators.”

“I found ‘The Devil and the Dairy Princess’ strikingly original,” said Charles Yu, the author of Interior “Chinatown,” and who was the judge of the award. “Each piece is distinctive, innovative and full of new surprises. Yet the collection as a whole is consistent in tone and voice, evocative, playful and haunting spaces that are both dreamy and nightmarish.

Instructor of several English courses at SLU, Mr. Ponce hopes to share his experience by writing this book with the students.

“The process of assembling the collection taught me a lot about how to compose a book – what makes a book consistent, especially a book with separate episodes? ” he said. “I look forward to opening this process to my students, especially in the advanced fiction writing classes and senior seminars, where we study and practice the art of turning individual pieces into publishable manuscripts. “

At SLU, Mr. Ponce regularly teaches fiction techniques, critical analysis methods and advanced fiction writing. His research interests include narrative theory, conspiracy theory and dystopian literature and he is the author of several books including “Stories After Goya”, “Alien Autopsy” and “Superstitions of Apartment Life”. His work has been published in several journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, Gigantic, PANK, and Copper Nickel. Additionally, his stories have been collected in “New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction” and “Boundaries Without: The Calumet Editions 2017 Anthology of Speculative Fiction”.

Mr. Ponce is a 2012 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in Creative Writing and holds a PhD. in English from the University of Denver, an MA in Fiction from Western Michigan University and an MA from Johns Hopkins University.

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