Donald Ray Pollock

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Donald Ray Pollock is an American writer. Born in 1954 and raised in Knockemstiff, Ohio, Pollock has lived his entire adult life in Chillicothe, Ohio, where he worked at the Mead Paper Mill as a laborer and truck driver until age 50, when he enrolled in the English program at Ohio State University.[1] While there, Doubleday published his debut short story collection, Knockemstiff,[2] and the New York Times regularly posted his election dispatches from southern Ohio throughout the 2008 campaign. The Devil All the Time, his first novel, was published in 2011. His work has appeared in various literary journals, including Epoch, Sou'wester, Granta, Third Coast, River Styx, The Journal, Boulevard, Tin House, and PEN America. His newest book, a novel called The Heavenly Table, was published by Doubleday on July 12th, 2016. It was awarded first place in the International category of the Deutscher Krimi Preis in January, 2017.


Pollock's fiction has been referred to as "Hillbilly Gothic" and "Southern Ohio Gothic," and has received positive reviews from critics. Knockemstiff was awarded the PEN/Robert Bingham Prize, and has been published in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, and England. Discussing The Devil All The Time, Vick Mickunas wrote in The Washington Independent Review of Books that "... there’s an otherness to Pollock’s characters that this reviewer finds strangely compelling. We might not be able to relate to the violence, but we comprehend the humanity — the flaws, the deceits, the crushed dreams, the hope that rises like a delicate flower from ashes."[3] On the other hand, Josh Ritter, an Americana folk singer who reviewed the novel for the New York Times Book Review, was a bit put off by the violence, but did speak highly of the prose. As of 2015, it has been translated into twenty-one languages.[4]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • 2009 PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize, Knockemstiff, winner
  • 2009 Devil's Kitchen Award in Prose (English Department of Southern Illinois University Carbondale), Knockemstiff
  • 2012 Publishers Weekly Top Ten Books of the Year, The Devil All The Time
  • 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship
  • 2012 Thomas and Lillie D. Chaffin Award for Appalachian Writing (for The Devil All the Time)
  • 2012 Grand Prix de Littérature Policière (French award for The Devil All the Time)
  • 2013 Third Place International Category Deutscher Krimi Preis (German award for The Devil All the Time')
  • 2013 First Place Prix Mystère de la critique (for The Devil All the Time) (France)
  • 2017 First Place International Category Deutscher Krimi Preis for The Heavenly Table (Germany)


  • Knockemstiff, 2008
  • The Devil All The Time, 2011 (voted "Best Book of 2012" in France by LIRE and the French Rolling Stone and "Best Book of 2014" in the Netherlands by the Dutch newspaper Het Parool)[citation needed]
  • The Heavenly Table, 2016


  1. ^ Peck, Claude. (July 22, 2011). "Donald Ray Pollock: Grim stories, beautifully told", Star Tribune. Retrieved October 13, 2013.
  2. ^ Sicha, Choire (6 April 2008). "Donald Ray Pollock's underdog story". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2009-05-20. 
  3. ^ Mickunas, Vick. "The Devil All the Time review". Book review. The Washington Independent Review of Books. Retrieved Aug 3, 2011. 
  4. ^ Ritter, Josh. (August 12, 2011). "A Good Man Is Impossible to Find", The New York Times". Retrieved October 13, 2013.

External links[edit]