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Stephen Raleigh Byler

Stephen Raleigh Byler Serves as the 2002 Final Judge

Press release in February 2002

Stephen Raleigh Byler has agreed to serve as the professional judge for the 2002 Nick Adams Short Story Contest. Byler’s first novel, Searching for Intruders: A Novel in Stories, was recently published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

The novel, written in eleven stories, introduces the reader to Wilson Hues, a man plagued by his turbulent childhood and caught, as Byler describes it, in “a struggle with a brand of ‘manliness’ that he cannot finally accept.” A related vignette presenting a dark memory from Wilson’s unhappy childhood precedes each full-length story. The vignettes illuminate Wilson’s obsession with his personal failures as he attempts to reconcile his past and present.

Booklist describes Byler’s eleven stories as “tightly fitting mosaic pieces, contributing individual luster to a vibrant collective pattern, each story illuminating a crucial milestone in the history of narrator Wilson’s tough relationships with his wife, family, and lovers.” Kirkus Reviews calls the novel “close hewn, stark, and sensitive ... powerful.... A strong debut from a writer who can whittle experiences to the quick.” Harold Bloom comments, “Searching for Intruders returns us to the Hemingway of The Nick Adams Stories. At their best, Byler’s stories are tersely eloquent and marked by a vivid exuberance.”

Stephen Byler, 31, was born and raised near Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He graduated from Eastern Mennonite University in 1992 with a B.A. in liberal arts and sociology. Byler continued his studies at Princeton, where he studied philosophy for two years before moving on to Yale, where he earned an M.A. in religion and literature. He also holds an M.F.A. in fiction writing from Columbia.

Byler divides his time between Pennsylvania and Montana. In the past, he has worked as a radio announcer, a bankruptcy counselor and a fly-fishing guide. Recently selected by Barnes and Noble for their winter 2002 “Discover Great New Writers Program,” Byler is touring the country -- from New York to Los Angeles -- promoting his novel. He is currently working on his second novel, set in Cuba.