Oranges. Gary Eldon Peter. New Rivers Press, 2018. 157 pgs. $18.00.
Oranges is Gary Eldon Peter’s debut collection of short stories and traverses, in linked tales, the life of Michael, a gay man from the Midwest who must find his own confusing path to adulthood after personal loss. Michael is confronted with a number of challenges, including coming to terms with his sexuality in the age of AIDS, facing his family’s difficulties accepting him, dealing with the death of his mother and the aging of his father, and starting over after losing a partner. Novelistic in scope, Oranges is about the never-ending search for connection, validation, intimacy, and, above all, love.
Gary Eldon Peter’s short stories have appeared in Water~Stone Review, Great River Review, Queer Voices, and other publications. His linked short story collection, Oranges, won the 2016 New Rivers Press Many Voices Project competition in Prose, the 2019 Midwest Book Award, and was a finalist for the 2019 Minnesota Book Award and the 2015 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction. It was also shortlisted for the 2019 Adult Literature Award sponsored by the Friends of American Writers Chicago. His story, “Wedding,” was performed on Selected Shorts, the long running and distinguished National Public Radio series featuring short fiction read by distinguished actors from film, television, and the Broadway stage.
Gary’s other awards include a McKnight Artist Fellowship for Writers/Loft Award in Creative Prose as well as two Minnesota State Arts Board grants. He has been awarded artist residencies to the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, the Millay Colony for the Arts, the Ragdale Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Golden Apple Art Residency, the Tofte Lake Center, the American Academy in Rome, the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers, and the Anderson Center.
He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College as well as a JD from William Mitchell College of Law. He has worked as a judicial law clerk and as a lawyer in private law practice, and spent many years working in the legal publishing industry. He is currently a faculty member in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches courses in writing, law and popular culture, and the future of work and technology to both undergraduate and graduate students.
Gary’s current writing projects include a new collection of short stories and a novel.