Marlin Barton was born in Montgomery, Ala., and grew up in Forkland, Ala. Barton had dyslexia as a child. To overcome it, he did special exercises every day while his mother read to him. He also enjoyed listening to stories told by his father and grandparents and by customers of his grandfather’s store. Barton attended the University of Alabama, graduating in 1985 with a BS in Education. He began writing fiction while taking writing classes at the University. In 1990, he earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Wichita State University in Kansas.
During the 1990s, Barton taught writing at Auburn University at Montgomery, Huntingdon College, and Clemson University. In 1997, he joined the “Writing Our Stories” program of the Alabama Writers’ Forum and the Alabama Department of Youth Services, teaching writing classes to juvenile offenders. In 2000, he became assistant director of that program. Barton began publishing his short stories in the 1990s and won several awards. His first collection of stories, The Dry Well, was published in 2001. Since then, he has published a novel and a second story collection.
Marlin Barton’s novel and short stories are set in Riverfield, a fictional version of Forkland, the Black Belt town where he grew up. Many of the characters are based on people he encountered there as a child.
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Photo by Chris John; courtesy of the Alabama Writers' Forum.
Last updated on May 30, 2008.