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A Different World

By Hudson J. Genovese
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
September 14, 1999

In next April's issue of the University of Utah's "Quarterly West," a literary journal that features poetry, prose and fiction, UA students will be able to find a short work of fiction titled "The Retard of Lard Hill," written by English professor Patrick Finn. Finn is currently a professor of English at the UA and a second year grad student in the master of fine arts creative writing program, concentrating on short fiction.

The journal's featured story won the 1999 Associated Writing Program's Intro Journal Award. The AWP is a conglomeration of all the graduate and undergraduate creative writing programs in the nation.

Every year, each program nominates select works of poetry and prose by students for the AWP and then selects the best works of the entries. The winning entries are then published in various literary journals.

In 1997, while at University of California Riverside, Finn received an honorable mention from the AWP for another short story, "A Martyr for Suzy Kosasovich." The story ended up being one of the stories to earn him acceptance into the UA's creative writing graduate program. Last December, Finn was nominated again for the AWP Award, this time by UA's creative writing faculty. This time, he won.

With numerous false starts, "The Retard of Lard Hill" didn't take shape until the spring of 1998 when Finn was visiting Joliet, Ill. After a 10-year absence from his hometown, Finn was compelled by what he saw and what he had forgotten. The homecoming was a catalyst, and two years later the story was finally completed.

Influenced by well-known authors like Stuart Dybek, Barry Hannah, Flannery O'Connor and Lee K. Abbott, Finn has been writing for about ten years. Currently his style of writing, according to Finn, involves, "people who are in the midst of something that changes the way they see themselves or the world they are in. Whatever that world is."

When writing, Finn likes to articulate a "solid understanding of a setting," and in turn his characters are portrayed in realistic worlds. In addition, Finn permeates his work with a focus on the subtleties of life. "On the surface they [the topics] might not seem like huge things, such as marriage, having a baby or winning the lottery. A big moment might be losing the lottery."

So come April, you can support the university's local talent and pick up the copy of "Quarterly West" featuring Finn's award winning story, "The Retard of Lard Hill" at the UA Main Library.

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