Garry Craig Powell

"It's what you say that counts. It's what distinguishes all great art from the other kind. The technically accomplished buggers are two a penny in any period."

- John Fowles,
The Collector
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Born in England and educated at Cambridge University and Durham University, Garry Craig Powell is a fiction writer and professor of Creative Writing at the University of Central Arkansas.

His novel-in-stories, Stoning the Devil, will be published by Skylight Press in August 2012. Extracts have appeared in many US magazines (see Publications).

Stoning the Devil

Stoning the Devil is a novel-in-stories set in the United Arab Emirates, a country of paradoxes, of seediness and glamour, of desert grandeur and Disneyland vulgarity, where public executions and other barbaric customs are winked at by the western expats who run the economy. Colin, a professor of literature, is not the ‘typical’ expat, ignorant and interested only in pleasure and his stock portfolio, but a speaker of Arabic and an admirer of Arab culture – or is he? To his Arab wife, he is an Orientalist who exoticizes and patronises the locals, unaware of his latent racism. Powell presents a complex and contradictory set of Arab characters, who are a far cry from fundamentalist stereotypes. He also gives women in the Gulf a voice – as none are completely submissive.

This powerful novel-in-stories is probably the first work of literary fiction set in the Persian Gulf by a westerner since Hilary Mantel’s Eight Months on Ghazzah Street. It echoes all the concerns of the great Arab writers, Mahfouz, Munif, and Kanafani, regarding the post-colonial world. Written by an author who spent eight years in that part of the world, the Gulf is presented as a crucible in which people of different races and religions are forging a new humanity, in spite of the abysses between them.

Stoning the Devil will be published by Skylight Press in August 2012.

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"Stoning the Devil is a mesmerizing read. You will not find another book like this one. Garry Craig Powell has an astonishing ability to create characters with swift and haunting power. His intricately linked stories travel to the dark side of human behavior without losing essential tenderness or desire for meaning and connection. They are unpredictable and wild. Is this book upsetting? Will it make some people mad? Possibly. But you will not be able to put it down."- Naomi Shihab Nye
"These linked stories are utterly mesmerizing and exotic. With a keen ear for dialogue, and a sensibility of the best Conrad, Kipling, Orwell and Achebe, Garry Craig Powell has pulled off a masterful feat." – George Singleton, Stray Decorum

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