Pinckney Benedict grew up on his family’s dairy farm in Greenbrier County, West Virginia. He attended The Hill School in Pottstown, Pa. and later graduated from Princeton University, where he studied primarily with Joyce Carol Oates, in 1986, and from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1988.
He has published two collections of short fiction (Town Smokes, Ontario Review Press 1987, and The Wrecking Yard, Nan A. Talese Books/Doubleday 1992) and a novel (Dogs of God, Nan A. Talese Books/Doubleday 1992), all three of which were named Notable Books by the New York Times, and all of which have been published in England, Germany, and France.
His stories have appeared in, among other magazines and anthologies, Esquire, All-Story, StoryQuarterly, Ontario Review, Appalachian Heritage, the O. Henry Award series (twice), the New Stories from the South series (three times, with a fourth appearance upcoming in the 2009 edition), the Pushcart Prize series (three times), and The Oxford Book of American Short Stories. Along with his wife, the novelist Laura Benedict (Isabella Moon, Ballantine 2007), he has edited the poetry and fiction anthology Surreal South (Press 53 2007), which includes work from, among others, Robert Olen Butler, Joyce Carol Oates, William Gay, Ron Rash, and Rodney Jones. Surreal South is slated to become a biennial anthology series, with a second volume due in October 2009.
He wrote the screenplay for the feature film Four Days (Cite Amerique 2000), which starred Colm Meaney (The Commitments, television’s Star Trek: Deep Space Nine), Lolita Davidovich (Blaze), and William Forsythe (The Rock).
He is co-founder of the Tinker Mountain Writers’ Workshop at Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, which will held its fifth session in June 2009. He serves on the core faculty of the low-residency MFA program at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina. He has served on the writing faculties of Oberlin College, Princeton University, and Hollins University, as a McGhee Writing Fellow at Davidson College in Davidson, North Carolina, and as a Thurber House Fellow at the Ohio State University.
He is currently full professor in the English Department at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
He is the recipient, among other prizes, of a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a fiction grant from the Illinois Arts Council, a Literary Fellowship from the West Virginia Commission on the Arts, a Michener Fellowship from the Writers’ Workshop at the University of Iowa, the Chicago Tribune’s Nelson Algren Award, and Britain’s Steinbeck Award.