Brad Vice

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Brad Vice (born November 14, 1973) is a fiction writer of the American South and a professor. He grew up in Alabama. His short story collection The Bear Bryant Funeral Train won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction (later rescinded) from the University of Georgia Press.


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.[1]

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.


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.

The Bear Bryant Funeral Train[edit]

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. Kirkus, in a starred review, called it "distinguished and disturbing work, from a lavishly gifted new writer."[2] Publishers Weekly agreed: "Vice has a gift for making the extraordinary plausible, for rendering complex motivations in spare but metaphoric language and searing details."[3]

When the University of Georgia Press discovered that one of the stories in The Bear Bryant Funeral Train incorporated material from a short story by Carl Carmer, the Press accused Vice of plagiarism, revoked the Flannery O'Connor Short Fiction Award, and destroyed unsold copies of the book.

Jason Sanford, writing in storySouth, described it as a "literary lynching."[4] A number of other writers and editors came to Vice's defense. Jake Adam York, for instance, 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, a journal edited by York. 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.[5]

After Vice's book was destroyed, remaining used copies on and other booksellers were selling for hundreds of dollars.[6]

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."[7]

In May 2013, reporter Andrew Leonard revealed that Brad Vice had been the victim of a "ferocious assault" by Robert Clark Young, a writer who spent years anonymously attacking his literary enemies by inserting "revenge edits" into Wikipedia. Editing under the user name "Qworty," Young "devoted a significant amount of intellectual and emotional energy to attacking not only Vice, but the entire community of writers centered around the Sewanee Writers' Conference that had nurtured Vice."[8]


  1. ^ The Mississippi Writers and Musicians Project of Starkville High School page on Brad Vice.
  2. ^ "Kirkus Review: The Bear Bryant Funeral Train". Kirkus. August 15, 2005. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
  3. ^ "PW Review: The Bear Bryant Funeral Train". Publishers Weekly. September 5, 2005. Retrieved May 25, 2013. 
  4. ^ Sanford, Jason (November 4, 2005). "The literary lynching of Brad Vice". storySouth. Retrieved May 24, 2013. 
  5. ^ Fell In Alabama: Brad Vice's Tuscaloosa Night by Jake Adam York. storySouth. Accessed November 6, 2005.
  6. ^ MSU prof's book demands big bucks on Internet by Robbie Ward, NE Mississippi Daily Journal, November 10, 2005, accessed May 11, 2006.
  7. ^ STRANGE CASE OF BRAD VICE: In defense of a destroyed treasure" by Michelle Richmond, The Oxford American, Issue 55.[dead link]
  8. ^ Leonard, Andrew (May 17, 2013). "Revenge, ego and the corruption of Wikipedia". Salon. Retrieved May 20, 2013. 

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