My Blog

Gerald Duff’s Dirty Rice named ForeWord Best of the Year finalist

Fire AntsEarlier this month, NewSouth released award-winning author Gerald Duff’s novel Coasters and his short story collection Fire Ants as ebooks, along with individual ebooks of each of Fire Ants‘ fifteen stories, and Duff’s new short essay Fugitive Days. We’re terrifically proud to offer these books by Duff, whose fiction Publishers Weekly praised for “wit and subtlety as simply satisfying as a tall cold one on a hot Gulf Coast afternoon.” But Fire Ants, Coasters, and Fugitive Days are just a few of Duff’s books earning praise from all corners.

Home Truths: A Deep East Texas Memory is Gerald Duff’s memoir, published by TCU Press in 2011. Steven Whitton of the Anniston Star called Home Truths “just as wickedly comic and startling as [Fire Ants]” and Library Journal‘s Julie Kane said “Duff’s account of a life led against the grain in East Texas is keenly thematic, peppered with insightful accounts of the seemingly ordinary.” In Home Truths, Duff relates his childhood move to rural East Texas after his father Big Willie Duff lost his job, and how lying to survive — often in poverty — informed his later life as a writer and professor.

Moon City Press published Duff’s novel Blue Sabine also in 2011. Named for the Sabine River on the border of Texas and Louisiana, Blue Sabine tells the generational story of the Holt family in their own words, especially the women, from 1867 to the present.

“In this beautifully written, wondrously told novel,” writes the Southern Historical Quarterly‘s Steven Davis, “one family’s personal history merges with the larger currents of Texan and American history, creating a twisting, turning narrative that is as aesthetically satisfying as it is historically resonant.” Vanessa Blakeslee of the Kenyon Review wrote that Blue Sabine “will haunt you long after you’ve closed its pages.” Some of the chapters within Blue Sabine were inspired by Duff’s stories in Fire Ants.

In 2012, the UL Press published Duff’s new novel Dirty Rice: A Season in the Evangeline League, which fictionalizes the 1935 Texas minor league team the Rayne Rice Birds and their pitcher Gemar Batiste. Batiste, a Native American, is constantly confronted with a sense of difference between himself and his teammates — not solely for the honor in which he imbues the game of baseball.

Harry Levins of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says “Duff gives readers who watch baseball on television new insight into the game as experienced by those who play it on the field”; on the Plaza de Armas website, Rod Davis (Corina’s Way, NewSouth Books) adds that “Duff’s new novel is about something else altogether: the purity of artistic passion.” ForeWord Reviews recently named Dirty Rice a finalist for their 2012 Best of the Year Award in the Adult Fiction category.

Finally, Duff’s Decoration Day and Other Short Stories, from the Stephen F. Austin State University Press, is a new collection with stories also related to Blue Sabine and Fire Ants, set in locations ranging from the piney woods of Deep East Texas, to the mean streets of Memphis, to the suburbs of Washington, DC.

You can connect with Gerald Duff on his website,, and learn more about Fire Ants, Coasters, and Fugitive Days from NewSouth Books.