Press 53 5 Questions, 3 Facts
The Story Prize Steve Mitchell Hangs Out
r.kv.r.y. journal Carol Roan talks to Steve
Joe Mills’ blog A Flash View with Steve Mitchell


In addition to being a sort-of cowboy, Steve has worked in construction and retail, supervised a rehabilitation program for the Chronic Mentally Ill, cooked hotdogs and fish sticks at a Y Summer Camp, and taught as a substitute teacher. He’s provided environments of sound for seminars on various subjects. He’s edited a couple of books for others and the literary magazine, No Straight Roads.

His fiction and poetry has appeared in december magazine, The Southeast Review, Contrary, The North Carolina Literary Review, and Flash Fiction Magazine, among others. His short story collection, The Naming of Ghosts, was published by Press 53 in 2013.

“’This time I’m not walking. I am a still point. This time, I merely sit quietly and allow the full weight of joy, of family, of the love we share, to bear me forward into a moment of glory where for one single and splendid instant I am absolutely one with every soul around me and the terror of it burns me clean.’ This is perhaps the most telling passage in Steve Mitchell’s impressive volume because it reveals in dramatic though indirect fashion one theme common to almost all the stories in The Naming of Ghosts: the unabidable fear of loneliness, the need to escape by any means the solitary confinement of self. Albert Camus would admire this book.” (more)

Fred Chappell, former NC Poet Laureate, on The Naming of Ghosts

He is a winner of the 2017 Curt Johnson Prose Prize, judged by Lily King, and the 2012 Lorian Hemingway International Short Story Prize and a finalist in the 2009 Fulton Prize for Short Fiction and the 2010 Ron Rash Award for Short Fiction.

He’s the winner of the Association of Alternative Media’s 2017 Award for Best LGBT Coverage (with Deonna Kelli Sayed) and a North Carolina Press Association award.

He’s received a Regional Artist Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council, as well as two  grants to attend Creative Capital Professional Development Workshops, and a Residency Grant to the Vermont Studio Center.

His plays have been performed in theatres along the East Coast. Sometimes, he’s directed them himself. He’s directed additional theatre by Sam Shepard, Christopher Durang and Peter Brook, among others, and toured with a multi-voice poetry group performing original work (and the occasional Gladys Knight and the Pips cover). He’s directed a number of short films and taken part in two 48 Hour Film Projects as writer and actor. He’s most proud of his performance as Thug 1 in Gone to Ground.

As a writer, he’s intrigued with the places where true memory becomes our mythology and the places where these mythologies wrestle with our world. He’s excited by moments of awareness in which something actually changes within us. And he loves the way we learn about strangers in conversation: in snippets and bits and odd elocutions, in half-formed images and conjecture. Within this chaotic mash-up we might begin to see how they story their own lives.

He loves the idea that writing is about creating a shifting, open space and a certain quality of silence.

His work tends to be written in the style we tell our own stories to ourselves; in gaps and lapses, leaping from a present moment to a past and back again, an impressionistic trajectory in search of a narrative. His exploration of character presupposes a yearning and the struggle for a personal mythology. His work is about people in search of their own narratives and the stories do not help them to clarify one.

He lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with his partner, writer Deonna Kelli Sayed and the cat, Mr. Zip. He’s co-owner of Scuppernong Books.

Courtesy of the Steve Mitchell Archival foundation
Courtesy of Jennifer Stevenson











coney3b copy
Courtesy of Christine Kirouac