Brad Vice (born November 14, 1973) is a fiction writer whose short story collection, The Bear Bryant Funeral Train, won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction from the University of Georgia Press. When the Press discovered that one of the stories in the collection was based on a section of the 1934 book Stars Fell on Alabama by Carl Carmer, the Press accused Vice of plagiarism and made the controversial decision to revoke his prize and destroy all copies of the book. While some agreed that Vice had plagiarized the story, a number of commentators and editors protested this decision, saying that Vice made no attempt to hide what he did and was merely adapting a classic literary work to a new age via a postmodern apparatus. The collection has since been re-issued in a revised format.
Vice was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1973 and raised in Northport, Alabama. Vice's father, Leon Vice, worked as a high school history teacher and a farmer while his mother Dorothy worked as a radiology technician.
According to Vice, he spent his summers working on his grandparents’ cattle farm and reading. In December 1994, he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alabama; he subsequently earned a Master's degree from the University of Tennessee and a Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Cincinnati. He worked briefly as an assistant professor of the English language at Arkansas Tech University before joining Mississippi State University as an assistant professor. Vice is currently serving as an instructor at the University of West Bohemia, in Pilsen, in the Czech Republic. He serves as faculty advisor to Sigma Tau Delta, the international English honor society.
Vice's fiction falls within the genre of southern literature and has appeared in many magazines and journals, including The Atlantic Monthly, The Georgia Review, The Southern Review, The Greensboro Review, and Shenandoah. His short story "Mojo Farmer" was selected for inclusion in the 1997 edition of New Stories From the South, while his story "Report from Junction" was included in the anthology's 2003 edition. His story "Chickensnake" was selected for the 2003 edition of Best New American Voices.
Vice has also published articles and interviews in publications such as Writers' Digest, The Novel and Short Story Writers' Market, and The Guide to Literary Agents. His fiction reviews have been published in a number of magazines and newspapers.
In late 2004 Vice's short story collection, The Bear Bryant Funeral Train, won the Flannery O'Connor Short Fiction Award from the University of Georgia Press. The Press published the collection in late 2005. The collection received positive reviews from Booklist and other magazines and from newspapers such as San Francisco Chronicle.
Controversy over alleged plagiarism 
Shortly after Vice's short story collection The Bear Bryant Funeral Train was published, a readers' adviser to the Tuscaloosa Public Library in Alabama noticed that one of the stories bore a similarity to a section of the classic 1934 nonfiction book, Stars Fell on Alabama by Carl Carmer. Vice's 20-page short story, "Tuscaloosa Knights," used the background, setting and some dialogue from Carmer's book, specifically a four-page section of the chapter "Tuscaloosa Nights," which describes a 1930s Ku Klux Klan rally in that city. The library adviser notified the University of Georgia Press, which had published Vice's book.
Vice said that he was not copying Carmer's original section but wrote the story in homage to Carmer's book. He said he used sections of Carmer's description and dialogue to add "authority to my story with the visual details of Carmer's historical reckoning. I made a terrible error in judgment by omitting to acknowledge this due to my ignorance concerning the principles of fair use." Even though The Bear Bryant Funeral Train failed to cite Carmer's book, Vice's doctoral dissertation (which was an earlier draft of the book) did contain an epigraph from Carmer's book at the start of the story in question. Vice has stated that he was advised to remove this and other epigraphs before publication "to make the book look more conventional."
Despite this apology and explanation, the University of Georgia Press revoked Vice's prize and destroyed all copies of the book.
While many literary commentators and editors agreed that Vice had made a mistake in failing to cite the original source of the story, there was also a feeling that the University of Georgia Press overreacted to the situation. Jake Adam York, a Southern United States poet and editor of the Alabama literary journal Thicket, noted that Vice had allowed his short story and the four-page section of Carmer's original book to be published side by side in Thicket. To York, this action by Vice "implicitly acknowledges the relationship (and) allows the evidence to be made public." York added that doing this allowed the readers to enter the "intertextual space in which (Vice) has worked" and that what Vice was doing with his story was allusion, not plagiarism. York also stated that, according to his own analysis of Vice's story and Carmer's source material, Vice did not break copyright law.
Other commentators and editors who supported Vice stated that Vice was following in a long line of authors adapting older literary works for modern times. Examples of this include Alice Randall's The Wind Done Gone (based on Gone with the Wind), Suzan-Lori Parks' Getting Mother's Body and Graham Swift's Last Orders (both updated versions of William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying), and Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead (which plays off of Hamlet). Others stated that Vice' publisher acted in "haste" and questioned why the book had to be destroyed for what was probably not a copyright violation or a case of plagiarism.
Still, there were commentators who felt that Vice was indeed guilty of plagiarism and received the punishment he deserved. These commentators tended to state that since Vice was a professor of English, he should have known what he was doing.
Re-release of The Bear Bryant Funeral Train 
In late March 2007, a new edition of the collection was published by River City Publishing. According to a report in The Oxford American, "The revised version will more closely mirror Vice’s 2001 dissertation from the University of Cincinnati, which contained many of the stories that ended up being published as The Bear Bryant Funeral Train. Unlike the UGA Press edition, it will be divided into two sections, the latter of which is set entirely in Tuscaloosa. In his dissertation, Vice described the Tuscaloosa stories as an 'attempt to reconcile the seemingly incompatible movements of Southern regionalism and international postmodernism.' In that vein, it contained epigraphs by Albert Camus, Basho, Guy Davenport, Bear Bryant, and, more importantly, Carmer, all of which will reappear in the River City edition."
Aside from being reedited from earlier versions of the author's manuscript, the new edition also differs from the first in that it rearranges the running order of the stories for thematic effect; contains an additional story, "Demopolis;" contains an introduction by Vice in which he explains his literary intentions; and includes essays from other writers and professors which provide context for both the postmodern approach employed by Vice and the controversy surrounding the initial publication.
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- The Mississippi Writers and Musicians Project of Starkville High School page on Brad Vice.
- Book’s passages raise questions of plagiarism, UA Press doubts originality of work by UGa Press by Mark Hughes Cobb. Tuscaloosa News, October 21. 2005. Accessed November 5, 2005.
- U. of GA Press Recalls Stories, Revokes Prize. Mediabistro.com. Accessed November 5, 2005.
- Vice's doctoral dissertation at the University of Cincinnati. Accessed Dec. 3, 2005.
- Plagiarism charge clouds a new writer's future by David Milofsky, Denver Post, Jan. 1, 2006. Accessed Jan. 4, 2006.
- Fell In Alabama: Brad Vice's Tuscaloosa Night by Jake Adam York. storySouth. Accessed November 6, 2005.
- The literary lynching of Brad Vice storySouth. Accessed November 5, 2005.
- "When Profs Go Wild" from HyperLiterature and "Another breathtaking example of plagiarism" by Brenda Coulter in No rules. Just write
- MSU prof's book demands big bucks on Internet by Robbie Ward, NE Mississippi Daily Journal, November 10, 2005, accessed May 11, 2006.
- http://www.oxfordamericanmag.com/content.cfm?ArticleID=148&Entry=CurrentIssue THE STRANGE CASE OF BRAD VICE: In defense of a destroyed treasure" by Michelle Richmond, The Oxford American, Issue 55.
- Vice's story "Tuscaloosa Knights"
- Flaming Cross by Carl Carmer, on which Vice based his story. This is a four page section from the chapter "Tuscaloosa Nights" in Stars Fell on Alabama.
- The Mississippi Writers and Musicians Project of Starkville High School page on Brad Vice
- Fell In Alabama: Brad Vice's Tuscaloosa Night