An article about instructor of English Dr. Mark Pearson '78, whose short story “The Short History of an Ear,” appears in The Best American Sports Writing 2011
, which was released in stores in early October, was published in the November 16 edition of The Pottstown Mercury
. Best-selling author Jane Leavy, who visited The Hill last spring, guest-edited the book and talks about “The Short History of an Ear” in her introduction. It is the first nonfiction essay Pearson has had published; more than a dozen of Pearson’s short fiction pieces have been published since the mid 1990s. Read The Mercury's article
“I had been working on some nonfiction about my life and wrestling,” said Pearson, “when Chuck Carlise, a friend of mine who was the nonfiction editor of ‘Gulf Coast’ magazine, asked me if I had written any nonfiction. I bounced a few drafts off him and then submitted it to ‘Sport Literate;’ it became a finalist in the magazine’s essay contest, and then was printed.”
Pearson became interested in writing when he was 11 years old, but did not begin writing regularly until he was a junior at The University of Michigan, where he was a standout wrestler. He recalls that after learning that John Irving also was a wrestler and a writer, he began reading Irving’s novel, The World According to Garp
, which is about a young boy who grows up and becomes interested in writing and wrestling.
After graduating from Michigan in 1982, Pearson coached wrestling at the collegiate level for Franklin and Marshall College and Millersville University, both located in Lancaster, Pa. He also embarked on his professional writing career while in Lancaster, working as a journalist for Lancaster area newspapers and the York Dispatch
in nearby York, Pa., before moving to Washington, where he worked part-time at The Washington Post
In 1991, Pearson took a job at St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., where he taught ancient history and coached wrestling. His short story “Hall of Fame” appeared in 'Stories' magazine while he was at St. Albans, becoming his first published piece of literature.
Pearson returned to The Hill in 1995, and for five years served as an instructor of English and the head wrestling coach. He left The Hill in 2000 to pursue advanced degrees, earning his M.A. in English with a concentration in creative writing from The University of California-Davis in 2002. He completed course work for his Ph.D. at the University of Georgia from 2002-04 before accepting a job at The Kinkaid School in Houston, Tex., and completed his Ph.D. in 2005. He taught English and coached wrestling at Kinkaid until 2011, when he returned to The Hill for his second stint as a teacher.
“Returning to The Hill seemed like a good opportunity for me,” said Pearson. “It’s a place that’s constantly evolving; it struck me as an interesting time to be here. I think people are going to see exciting things coming out of the English department. Plus, I get to coach wrestling again.”
Pearson currently has five forthcoming publications, including “Famous Last Lines” recently accepted for publication in Short Story
, and “Ropes” and “Eight Pounds of Sweat and the Art of Dehydration,” which will be published in the sports anthology Suicidally Beautiful