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Leadership Professor Ferch’s Short Story Wins Literary Prize

Posted on February 24, 2010 in: Academics, Alumni, Events, Faculty & Staff, Feature Stories, Parents
Shann Ferch with his mother. Ferch writes fiction and poetry under the pen name Shann Ray in honor of his mother. Ray is his middle name.

Shann Ferch with his mother. Ferch writes fiction and poetry under the pen name Shann Ray to honor his mother. Ray is his middle name. Photo courtesy of the Ferch family.

Shann Ferch, professor of leadership in Gonzaga University’s Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies, has won the Ruminate Short Story Prize by Ruminate Magazine for his story, “The Miracles of Vincent Van Gogh.”

Ferch’s story, written with the pen name Shann Ray, was chosen by David James Duncan, author of “The River Y” and “Brothers K.” The story will appear in the spring issue of the magazine in mid-March. Ferch says he uses the pen name because it’s the name both he and his mother share.

“I write fiction and poetry under my middle name in honor of my Mom,” said Ferch, whose mother and father live in Bozeman, Mont. Ferch spent part of his childhood on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in Southeast Montana, attended Park High in Livingston, Mont., and played basketball for Montana State University and Pepperdine University before playing overseas in Germany.

Ruminate editor Brianna Van Dyke said the spring publication’s theme will be “Borrowing,” inspired by Ferch’s entry. “We are thrilled to have the chance to share it!” she said.

Duncan wrote this about the narrative: “He [Ferch] imbues Sender [a character] with a brutally earnest love for horses and brutally clear-eyed regard for people that earns the right to quote the equally earnest soul-brother to Sender, V. Van Gogh (“The greatest work of art is to love someone”), then riff on that quote with word-shards as unique to the author as eccentric brush-stabs were to Van Gogh:

Careful, but with abandon. Super-vigilant, half-crazed.
Anger, distance, deviance.
Men borrow dignity or they borrow shame.

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