Everywhere Stories Contributor Spotlight: John Matthew Fox

Contributor John Matthew Fox’s story, “Fatu Ma Futi,” is set in Samoa. It’s one of 20 stories included in Volume II of Everywhere Stories: Short Fiction from a Small Planet, available now from Press 53, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.

John Matthew Fox won the Third Coast Fiction Contest, the Shenandoah Fiction Award, and was a finalist for the Chicago Tribune Nelsen Algren Award. His fiction has also been published in Crazyhorse, Hobart, Los Angeles Review, and Arts & Letters. He provides resources for writers at the literary website Bookfox and is living in Orange County while working on a novel.

John Fox’s comment on “Fatu Ma Futi”—I wrote this story more than a decade after I traveled to Western and American Samoa with a group of fellow college students. I stayed there for a summer, teaching children subjects like Math, English, and Bible, and although I’ve traveled to more than 40 countries since, I’d still rank it as the most beautiful place I’ve been. Other than the trappings of place and vocation, the story isn’t autobiographical, but I wanted to examine a young missionary’s confusion about gender, sexuality, and desire (my short story collection, of which this is a part, is all about missionaries). I still have some of my lavalavas packed in the garage, and though loose skirts are marvelous for hot climates, I haven’t missed wearing them. I do, however, miss Samoan tunafish, island time, and the tradition of men eating first.

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