JAMES TATE HILL

Academy Gothic by James Tate Hill - Winner of the 2014 Nilsen Literary Prize for a First Novel
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Academy Gothic Available Now

HARDBOILED NOIR MEETS ACADEMIC SATIRE IN ACADEMY GOTHIC

Tate Cowlishaw is late for another faculty meeting when he discovers the body of Scoot Simkins, dean of Parshall College. Cowlishaw might be legally blind but sees that a man with three bullets in his head didn’t put them there himself. The police disagree. When Cowlishaw investigates, he is told his teaching contract won’t be renewed. Suspects aren’t hard to come by at the college annually ranked “Worst Value” by U.S. News & World Report. While the faculty brace for a visit from the accreditation board, Cowlishaw’s investigation leads him to another colleague on eternal sabbatical. Before long, his efforts to save his job become efforts to stay alive. A farcical tale of incompetence and corruption, Academy Gothic scathingly redefines higher education as it chronicles the last days of a dying college.



ADVANCE PRAISE FOR ACADEMY GOTHIC

“In attempt to describe the experience of reading this novel, I am compelled for the first time in my life to use the term ‘uproarious.’ Smartly funny, wildly paced, tonally perfect, it’s also blisteringly honest—especially on the subject of our decrepit institutions. Academy Gothic combines the wit of Kingsley Amis with the absurdist vision of Nathanael West. It’s far more than a boilerplate who-done-it, though it is everywhere and always concerned with the mysteries that both define and forever fail to explain us.”

—Michael Parker, author of All I Have in This World


Academy Gothic is a fast-paced, hilarious, who-done-it noir jammed with jaw-dropping similes even Raymond Chandler would envy. Infused with impeccably timed, deadpan humor, the robust prose between these pages is crafted by a true wordsmith.”

—Marie Manilla, author of The Patron Saint of Ugly


“Half murder mystery, half ghost story, and half satire of higher education in America, Academy Gothic rollicks from start to finish. It is a joy to read. James Tate Hill writes with genuine charm and a keen eye for the absurd.”

—Andrew Ervin, author of Burning Down George Orwell’s House


“A murder mystery set in a dismal, crumbling college, Academy Gothic is both dark and delightfully funny. Stubborn, jaded, legally blind Tate Cowlishaw is a compelling amateur hardboiled detective, navigating the murk of office politics thickened by bloody murder.”

—Steph Cha, author of Follow Her Home



SAMPLE AND ORDER ACADEMY GOTHIC

SAMPLE THE FIRST TWO CHAPTERS AT THE NERVOUS BREAKDOWN

ORDER FROM SOUTHEAST MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS

ORDER FROM INDIEBOUND

ORDER FROM AMAZON

ORDER FROM BARNES & NOBLE

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PRESS

Reviews

"Tate Cowlishaw, the droll narrator of Hill's fine first novel, may be legally blind, but he's clever enough to realize that the death of Randall "Scoot" Simkins, the dean of Parshall College in Grayford, N.C., was not suicide... [Cowlishaw's] investigation is notable for the bizarre quirks he discovers about his fellow members of the college community—and for the opportunities he finds to share mordant observations about the condition of higher education in America. The dead-on parody of academic jargon and the well-spun plot alone make this mystery worth reading."
Publishers Weekly
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“Hill’s whodunit exposes a lackluster side of academia with a dry, witty humor, while frequent plot twists keep readers on their toes until the final pages.”
Booklist
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“…hilariously funny because it is so true. With its well-aimed satire of academia, its gritty mystery and its blind narrator who sees more than most of us do, this book is great entertainment.”
Greensboro News & Record
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“Hill’s first trip out of the publication box bodes well for future, funny books. And Academy Gothic might just brighten your day with a few chuckles. How many can say that while reading a murder mystery?”
Charleston Gazette-Mail
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Academy Gothic offers readers a detective novel with a unique backdrop far from the usual gritty landscapes of modern mysteries. With enough humor and drama to keep the pages turning, the novel provides not only a well-told story but an astute look at a world few get to see.”
Necessary Fiction
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Interviews

I discussed the origins of Academy Gothic, genre, process, and my love of Beverly Hills: 90210 in an interview with Writer’s Bone.
READ HERE


I interviewed myself for the TNB Self-Interview Series.
VIEW NOW


I talk to fellow debut novelist Greg Shemkovitz about genre, publishing, and lessons learned along the path to publication over at Story South.
READ HERE


I was interviewed by the Greensboro News & Record about Academy Gothic and the state of higher education.
READ HERE


I was interviewed by Julianna Baggott for her 1/2 Dozen series.
READ HERE



Miscellaneous

I had the honor of creating a Book Notes playlist for Academy Gothic, heavy on new wave, over at Largehearted Boy. Read descriptions of each selection and stream all the songs on Spotify.
READ HERE


I wrote a guest column for Writers Digest called "7 Things I’ve Learned So Far."
READ HERE


I discuss the complicated role of place in the novel I’ve just completed at The Mantle.
READ HERE


The Book Fight podcast featured Academy Gothic in Episode 101.
LISTEN HERE


I wrote about my first big failure for The Quivering Pen.
READ HERE


I wrote an essay, “On Being a Writer Who Can’t Read,” for Literary Hub.
READ HERE



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James Tate Hill headshot

ABOUT

James Tate Hill is the author of Academy Gothic, winner of the 2014 Nilsen Prize for a First Novel. He serves as Fiction and Reviews Editor for the literary journal Monkeybicycle, an imprint of Dzanc Books. His fiction has appeared in Story Quarterly, Sonora Review, The South Carolina Review, The Laurel Review, The Texas Review, and elsewhere. He holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from Hollins University and an M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he served as Fiction Editor of The Greensboro Review. A native of Charleston, West Virginia, he is a graduate of West Virginia Wesleyan College and West Virginia University. Currently he lives in Greensboro with his wife, Lori.

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EVENTS

READING & BOOK SIGNING — Saturday, October 10, 2015 at 4:00–6:00 pm
Taylor Books
226 Capital Street
Charleston, West Virginia
(304) 342-1461
taylorbooks.com

ALUMNI READING WITH POET KATHLEEN DRISKELL — Thursday, October 15, 2015 at 7:00 pm
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Faculty Center
402 College Avenue
Greensboro, North Carolina

READING & BOOK SIGNING — Wednesday, October 28, 2015 at 7:00 pm
Scuppernong Books
304 South Elm Street
Greensboro, North Carolina
(336) 763-1919
scuppernongbooks.com

READING & BOOK SIGNING — Sunday, November 8, 2015 at 3:00 pm
Malaprops Bookstore/Cafe
55 Haywood Street
Asheville, North Carolina
(800) 441-9829
malaprops.com

READING & BOOK SIGNING — Tuesday, November 10, 2015 at 7:00 pm
Quail Ridge Books
3522 Wade Avenue
Raleigh, NC 27607
(919) 828-1588
quailridgebooks.com

READING & BOOK SIGNING — Thursday, December 3, 2015 at 5:00 pm
La Salle University
Holroyd Atrium
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

READING & BOOK SIGNING WITH DANIEL NESTER AND ANDREW ERVIN — Saturday, December 5, 2015 at 7:00 pm
The Spiral Bookcase
112 Cotton St
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19127
(215) 482-0704
thespiralbookcase.com

UPCOUNTRY LITERARY FESTIVAL — March 18-19, 2016
March 18, 1:45 pm
University of South Carolina - Union
Union, South Carolina

READING & BOOK SIGNING — Thursday, April 28 at 7:00 pm
Barnes & Noble - Friendly Center
3102 Northline Avenue
Greensboro, North Carolina 27408
(336) 854-4200
barnesandnoble.com

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Contact

If you reached this page not by accident and are not a robot, I would love to hear from you... Please drop me a line, or find me on Twitter, Facebook, or GoodReads. For all inquiries regarding Academy Gothic, please contact Susan Swartwout at Southeast Missouri State University Press.