Kirby Gann: “Ghosting: A Novel”


WKU Libraries featured Kirby Gann for the 2012/13 season of Kentucky Live!. Gann talked about his new book Ghosting to a diverse university and community audience. The talk concluded with a book signing by the author.

Photo Album | Audio | Podcast 

Gann has deep Kentucky roots. His father is a native of Bowling Green and his mother is anative of Mayfield.  He attended public schools in Louisville before graduating from Transylvania University where he was encourage to write by an English professor.

 Kind of a renaissance man, he enjoyed a brief career as a semi-professional soccer player, somewhat akin to the character Gabriel Toure in his first novel The Barbarian Parade: Or, Pursuit of the Un-American Dream published in 2004After many jobs and adventures abroad in exotic places like Paris he returned to Louisville in 1997 to become Managing Editor of Sarabande Books, a non-profit literary press founded in 1994 which publishes quality prose, essays and short fiction.

His first book A Fine Excess: Contemporary Literature At Play, an edited collection of thirty-six writings by well-known writers like e.e. Cummings and Edmund White was published by Sarabande in 2001.

His first novel The Barbarian Parade was called “far more distressing then The Catcher in the Rye,  but just as well written.  It was a KET July 2005 book club selection.
Babarian Parade copy

His second novel Our Napoleon in Rags published in 2005 by Ig Press of Brooklyn is a much darker novel which describes the lives of a remarkable group of characters who frequent the Don Quixote Bar in Old Towne, a once fashionable but now seedy section of Montreux, Kentucky.  It’s a remarkable novel by a stylist whose characters linger in your psyche long after you’ve read the book.

 our napoleon in rags

His newest novel “Ghosting” published in 2012 by Ig Press is set in Lake Holloway, a crime-ridden, poverty-blighted area in “Pirtle County” Kentucky, the kind of place where people often disappeared from.  To quote the reviewer for the New York Times “Ghosting offers a high-low cocktail of lovely prose and cruel deeds.”  The reviewer for Kirkus writes “this is a tale of love and loyalty, family and duty, naïveté and duplicity, played out on an amoral landscape of drugs and violence.”  It adds this is “hillbilly noir as literary fiction of the first order.”


When not writing or editing, Kirby plays acoustic guitar in a Louisville ban and teaches in the MFA writing program at Spalding University.



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