Possible Play-In Games

ALL-TIME AMERICAN WRITERS TOURNAMENT

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THE LONG hiatus the tournament has been on because of the holidays is due to end. The trick will be getting all the nominated writers back. Where has Hemingway gone, for instance? Hunting lions in Africa again? Is Jack London back in the Yukon? Has reclusive Emily Dickinson returned to self-imposed exile?
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Our #8 seeds will soon be announced– which will bring us to the halfway point in selecting writers for the tournament. (We need to pick up that pace!) We can already tell that many outstanding writers won’t make the cut– so we’re considering play-in matches as a way to expand the 64 spots.

Some proposed matches between similar writers as a way to winnow the pack:

Katherine Anne Porter versus Flannery O’Connor.

Thomas Wolfe versus Erskine Caldwell.

Mickey Spillane versus James Ellroy.

James Harrison versus Chuck Palahniuk?

Should any of these writers make the cut? Which more stand out?

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Specialists

ALL-TIME AMERICAN WRITERS TOURNAMENT

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(Pictured: O. Henry.)
The Tournament is open to specialists of any variety. One-book authors have a chance– if the book is a great one.

We won’t exclude anyone for being just a short story writer. We value the short story. We love it. We see the short story as literature’s future. Its way to break out of its snobby neighborhood. Its exclusive ghetto.

It’d be like excluding rock n’ roll singers with strings of hit singles but no important album from the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame. It’d be an outrage. (See Chubby Checker and Tommy James.)

Neither should poets be excluded for being just poets. Or playwrights excluded for being merely playwrights.

Novelists are valued by critics highest of all writers of the past 150 years– but the novel is overrated. Few novels can truly be said to be gems of art. Truly accomplished works of art. Most are time fillers.

(The Great Gatsby is a gem of a novel, but it’s not the greatest American novel.)

Some few novels are time-filling compelling reads– but more.

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Katherine Anne Porter was a talented short story writer who wrote a novel because she felt she had to.

The novel, Ship of Fools, isn’t a bad novel. Neither is it enough of an achievement to place her into the Tournament. If Katherine Anne Porter makes the Tournament it will be because of her short stories. And her novellas.

Raymond Carver never wrote a novel, but this isn’t enough of a factor to keep him out of the Tournament.

Other factors will likely keep him out of the Tournament.
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TRIVIA QUESTION: What do writers O. Henry and Katherine Anne Porter have in common aside from fact both were American and both specialized in the short story form?

(First correct answer wins a free batch of New Pop Lit postcards.)