John Vanderslice hails from southern Maryland, specifically the eccentric community of Moyaone, which was developed in the 1950s and 60s by a fearless crew of over-educated, wannabe hippies and anti-social survivalists escaping from Washington DC and its ruthlessly expanding white collar suburbs. After twelve years of Catholic schooling, and too many summers working as a lifeguard, he left the southern Maryland woods to attend the University of Virginia, from which he graduated in 1983. A series of silly jobs, and a flurry of different addresses, in the Washington DC metro area finally led to him entering the MFA in Poetry Writing program at George Mason University in 1986, where he studied under Peter Klappert, William Matthews, and Susan Tichy. He graduated in 1991 and started teaching writing to college freshmen at GMU and Northern Virginia Community College-Annandale. In 1993, he entered the Ph.D program in the English Department at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, located at the epicenter of the Cajun cultural world. After four years of fine dining, great music, and inspired literary fellowship, he moved to Conway, Arkansas, where he began teaching part-time at the University of Central Arkansas while acting as a stay-at-home dad for his infant son. Two decades and another son later, he is a Full Professor in the Department of Film, Theatre, and Creative Writing at UCA, teaching fiction writing and other genres both to undergraduates and to graduate students in the Arkansas Writers MFA Workshop.
John's sons are grown up and on their on now, leaving a household comprised of himself, his wife Stephanie, their three cats, and their two weird but lovable dogs--Mario and Asuna--the former not seeming to understand that they do not need his protection from old ladies and friendly neighbors, and the latter, who is a baby in dog costume, looking like a shrunken and impossibly skinny black Labrador Retriever. (She's a mix.)
More than eighty of his stories, poems, essays, and one-act plays have appeared in literary journals and anthologies. A partial list of these journals includes Seattle Review, Notre Dame Review, Versal, Sou’wester, Laurel Review, Crazyhorse, The Pinch, Southern Humanities Review, 1966, Squalorly, Foliate Oak, Red Wheelbarrow, South 85, and Exquisite Corpse. Some of the anthologies are Appalachian Voice, Redacted Story, Chick for a Day, The Best of the First Line: Editors’ Picks 2002-2006, and Tartts: Incisive Fiction from Emerging Writers. His linked story collection Island Fog was named by Library Journal as one of the Top 15 Indie Fiction Titles of 2014. His historical novel The Last Days of Oscar Wilde was published in 2018 by Burlesque Press. His child abduction novel Nous Nous appeared in 2021 from Braddock Avenue Books.