The Life of Ron . . . so far
Although born in
California, Ron grew up mostly in North Carolina, where family from
both sides were born and raised. Most of his relatives hail from Caldwell County, in the Carolina hills, and many of them still gather for a reunion
every October in North Wilkesboro. Ron's father was the wild-card, an
electrical engineer recruited by Western Electric to do missile research
for Bell Labs in the 1950s-70s. This compelled his family to travel
fairly widely, at one point re-locating to an island--Kwajalein-- in the mid-Pacific
for two years. They returned to North Carolina when Ron was a teenager.
He earned his B.A. in English, with Honors in Creative Writing, from
the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Ron returned to the Pacific Islands in 2008 to establish the Marshall Islands Story Project, supported by a grant from the National Park Service. The Story Project aims to preserve the oral story culture of Marshallese elders. It teaches Marshallese college students how to gather and translate these stories into English and build a website to broadcast them to the world.
Ron Tanner's Writing
Ron Tanner has published stories and essays in such magazines as The Iowa Review, the
Massachusetts Review, the Literary Review, Story Quarterly, West Branch and dozens
of others. His work has been anthologized in Best of the Web, the
Pushcart Prizes, and Twenty Under Thirty: Early Work of America's
Influential Writers, among others. His work in both the essay and the short story has been acknowledged as "notable" by Best American Short Stories and Best American Essays. Awards for his short fiction include a James
Michener Fellowship from the Copernicus Society, first prize in the
New Letters national fiction competition, gold medal in the Pirate's Alley
Faulkner Society national competition for short fiction, Best of the Web Award, Best of the West prize, and many others.
His first collection of short stories, A Bed of Nails, won the G. S. Sharat Chandra Prize and the Towson Prize for Literature.
Ron Tanner earned his B.A. in English with Honors in Writing from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, and his Ph.D. in American Literature and Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Ron has been an avid advocate of educational innovation, most recently promoting technology in writing classes. At Loyola University, he has been a leader in the development of new technology-rich coures, such as "Writing for the Web." When not teaching and writing, he runs Wordrocket.org, a small digital design and communication company that takes on multi-media projects of interest.
If you'd like Ron to visit your writer's club, your organization, your school, your reading group
"Ron Tanner's life is a testament to the power of hard work, a big heart, blind romance, and even outright idiocy. What does he have to show for it? Only a beautiful house, a loving marriage, and now this inspiration of a book. Pass me my hammer!"
Chris Jones, ESQUIRE