Runner-Up in the 2014 Faulkner- Wisdom Novella Competition
Publication: June 2015
From Tickfaw to Shongaloo is a comic Southern tale told in the first person by Raylene, a local gossip in little Stokely, Louisiana. Bert Dilly the postmaster (we learn), has been spreading town gossip (like everyone else), fueled by his habit of being a little too involved with the local mail (opened or not). A disgruntled maiden lady writes a scathing letter of complaint, which is reported to the state postmaster, and Bert’s brother, J.T., accuses Bert of mental incompetence (he wants the family land). Bert is replaced until the charges can be taken up by a federal court in Baton Rouge.
Most of the town rallies around Bert, but the hearing devolves into a kangaroo court, turning citizens against each other, egged on by a crooked lawyer who crumbles when the whole matter blows up in his face, through his own arrogance and ignorance of certain facts (crazy as they were). After three days of ridiculous testimony and unreliable evidence, the judge must make his landmark decision about Bert, the mail, and gossip in Stokeley, Louisiana—where the townsfolk can hardly wait to exchange their own versions of the honest truth.
DIXON HEARNE is the author of four books of fiction and editor of several anthologies. From Tickfaw to Shongaloo was the sole Runner-Up in the 2014 Faulkner Wisdom Novella Competition. Plantatia: High-toned and Low-down Stories of the South was nominated for the Hemingway/PEN award, and his stories have been twice nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Other work has appeared in Collier’s magazine, Oxford American, Louisiana Literature, Big Muddy, Tulane Review, and elsewhere. Much of his work is drawn from the rich images of daily life along the river traces and delta flats of Louisiana.
Praise for From Tickfaw to Shongaloo
This novella has enough eccentrics to start five freak shows, a very nosy postmaster, a town that rallies to defend their crazies, and three days of testimony in a Baton Rouge courthouse meant to keep everybody in one small town in everyone else’s business until the end of time. Good writing and quirky characters. —Moira Crone, author of The Not Yet and What Gets Into Us
Dixon Hearne has taken up the estimable mantle of Southern comic writers that stretches back to George Washington Harris and Mark Twain. Digressions are the sunshine of this hilarious novella, and you’ll be reminded of Eudora Welty and Laurence Sterne. I haven’t laughed so hard since A Confederacy of Dunces. —John Dufresne, Louisiana Power & Light
Dixon Hearne gives us “From Tickfaw to Shongaloo” and a narrator who lets loose a memorable torrent of small town gossip and innuendo that will make your head spin. —Jill McCorkle, Life After Life and Going Away Shoes
With From Tickfaw to Shongaloo Dixon Hearne presents a literary farce sung to us in a hilarious, yet authentic, voice. There are eccentric characters by the bus-full in this novella, and that makes for one wild and sidesplitting ride.—Skip Horack, author of The Other Joseph, The Eden Hunter, and The Southern Cross
Read the Readers’ Favorite review of From Tickfaw to Shongaloo here.
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