BIO: Allen Gee grew up in NY, attended the University of New Hampshire, the Iowa Writers Workshop, and the University of Houston. He’s married to the novelist Renee Dodd (“A Cabinet of Wonders”). Gee taught from 2004-2018 at Georgia College, and he’s now the Donald L. Jordan Endowed Professor of Creative Writing at Columbus State University. His essay collection, “My Chinese-America” has received strong reviews from Kirkus and Publishers Weekly. He’s currently finishing a novel, The Iron Road. His website address is: www.allengee.com
Q: Who is your greatest literary influence?
I’ve been influenced the most by the writer James Alan McPherson, who was my mentor for many years. Born in Savannah, GA, McPherson was the first African-American male to win the Pulitzer for fiction, for his short story collection “Elbow Room.” He was also the author of the story collection, “Hue and Cry,” the memoir, “Crabcakes,” the essay collection, “A Region Not Home: Reflections From Exile,” and a history book called, “Railroad.” James passed away in 2016, and I’m his designated biographer. I’ll begin writing the biography this fall. James gave me many books and taught me how to view the nation in different ways, and I have been most affected by his constant call for kindness and community building.