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Jim Sanderson

​"If Larry Brown and Raymond Chandler got together over a bottle of Wild Turkey, their literary baby would probably be something like Jim Sanderson." William Jensen, Texas Books in Review, Fall 2014



Welcome to (jimsanderson-writer). Jim Sanderson’s collection of short stories, Semi-Private Rooms (1994), won the Kenneth Patchen Prize for fiction in 1992, sponsored by Pig Iron Press. A collection of essays, A West Texas Soapbox appeared in June of 1998 from the West Texas A&M State University Series from Texas A&M University Press. Sanderson’s first novel, El Camino del Rio, won the 1997 Frank Waters Prize, and was published by The University of New Mexico Press. The University of New Mexico Press also published two other novels that became a series: Safe Delivery (2000, finalist for Violet Crown Award) and La Mordida (2002). Nevin’s History, a historical novel, appeared from Texas Tech University Press in April 2004. Sanderson's short story collection, Faded Love, 2010 from Ink Brush Press, was a finalist for the 2010 Texas Institute of Letters' Jesse Jones Award for best book-length fiction by a Texas writer or about Texas. In 2011 Ink Brush Press published the next in Sanderson's Dolph Martnez/Jerri Johnson detective series, Dolph's Team. Lamar University Press published Trashy Behavior, another collection of short stories in 2013. In 2014, TCU press published a darkly comic mystery set in Southeast Texas, Nothing to Lose. In 2015 Livingston Press published the prequel, Hill Country Property, a novel that traces the development of central Texas from rural to urban area from the 40s through the 80s in 2015. Brash Books (dedicated to publishing overlooked crime, mystery, and thriller novels) re-published El Camino del Rio in 2016, La Mordida in 2018, Safe Delivery in 2020, and an e-book collection of all three in 2020).  Moonshine Cove Publishing published Gambled Dreams is 2021.

Sanderson's latest is assembling the anecdotes from long-time, legendary Texas State Senator Carl Parker and putting them into a memoir, Turtle on a Post: Memoir of Texas State Senator Carl Parker, 2024.

Sanderson has previously published about eighty short stories, essays, or scholarly articles. He won the 2012 Kay Cattarulla Award from the Texas Institute of Letters for best short story by a Texan or about a Texan for his short story "Bankers," published by Descant. He was a finalist for the same award in 2023 with "Southsiders."


Sanderson has a Ph.D. in fiction writing from Oklahoma State University. For a living, he teaches fiction writing and American literature and film at Lamar University.  After serving as Writing Director for six years and then as Chair of the Department of English and Modern Language for eleven years, he is now Writer in Residence.


Jim Sanderson was born in San Antonio. Much of his work is set in Texas, particularly West Texas and border.


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"In the Grit Lit genre, Jim Sanderson is as gritty as they come. His eleventh book is peopled with whores, murderers, corrupt bankers, sleazy lawyers, and other misfits whose lives have been irreparably damaged by hardships and cruelties that seem to be the properties of a malevolent world. What makes this collection of eight stories work is their believability. Sanderson’s world is as credible as the harsh worlds drawn by Ron Rash, William Gay, and Larry Brown. He creates a habitat where we can well imagine residing; perhaps at various times we have. His characters inspire in us what Aristotle said were the requisite emotions of tragedy: pity and fear. That is to say, again in good old Aristotelian fashion, we delight in these stories because we learn from them."  Mark Sibley Jones, Texas Books in Review, Spring 2014.

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