Black Lawrence Press
January 4, 2010

The Butterfly Collector, Winner of The St. Lawrence Book Award

Black Lawrence Press is pleased to announce the publication of The Butterfly Collector by Fred McGavran.

The Butterfly Collector is full of people you know: a beautician, a lawyer, a man with Alzheimer’s who takes his first nightcap at three in the afternoon. But each of these thoroughly knowable protagonists is faced with a situation that causes them to become extraordinary. In these stories, Fred McGavran is both author and investigator, out to prove that every person has at least one really good story to tell.

Fred McGavran won the 2007 St. Lawrence Book Award for The Butterfly Collector. He has also won the 2007 Writers Digest Short Story Contest in the horror category, the 2004 John Reid/Tom Howard Contest, and the 2003 Raymond Carver Award from Humboldt State University. He won an Individual Achievement Award from the Ohio Arts Council in 2009. He has a B.A. in English from Kenyon College, is a graduate of Harvard Law School, and was an officer in the Navy in Vietnam. He defends psychiatric malpractice claims and represents veterans in claims against the Veterans Administration in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He is a candidate for ordination as a deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio. His stories have appeared in or are forthcoming from numerous publications including Pearl Magazine, Rosebud, Gray’s Sporting Journal, Dreams & Visions, Storyglossia, Short Story International, and the Harvard Review.

The Butterfly Collector is available from Black Lawrence Press and Amazon.

Please contact Diane Goettel and for media inquiries and review copies. Fred McGavran is available for readings and speaking engagements.

Black Lawrence Press titles are distributed by Consortium. For more information, visit

A collection of gems. By day Fred McGavran is a highly regarded Harvard-educated lawyer. By moonlight he crafts page-turners that draw on his deep experience with law and life…McGavran’s masterly writing invited comparison with John Grisham. But stir in Stephen King and Kafka–and an eye for the absurd, an ear for dialog and a wicked sense of humor. McGavran ranks as a top lawyer-writer. His abiding concern with moral values reaches into literary traditions that include the best of Melville, Chekhov, and Graham Greene. His stories go down smoothly, but they linger and haunt…These stories are required reading for law-and-lit fans, lawyers with a sense of humor and all devotees of the art of short fiction. -Michale H. Hoffheimer, Proffesor of Law, University of Mississippi

Fred McGavran’s The Butterfly Collector is sardonic, erudite, and unexpectedly frightening. He will leave you wanting more. -P.F. Kluge, Writer in Residence at Kenyon College and author of Gone Tomorrow and other novels

Fred McGavran’s first collection of short fiction, The Butterfly Collector, etches the American haute bourgeoise with satire that stings in carefully observed detail but then predictably swerves into generous invention. The world he works with is O’Hara’s and Updike’s suburbia, mildly Midwestern, citified–but populated by lawyers, priests, occasionally therapists and academics, most of them aging badly, few of them attractive to women. His Dickensian devastation of the law, updated with voir dire, takes turns with magical realism. McGavran writes about memory, often about an unfortunate inability to remember selectively. Things keep coming back–submarines that rise years later to disgorge their dead or, elsewhere, unkillable bears and stags. Oddly dismembered limbs run through his stories, metaphors for what travels uselessly. -Britton J. Harwood, Professor of English, Miami University

The Butterfly Collector takes one into a kind of nether world in which the seemingly ordinary serves as a doorway to another, stranger dimension. The dead return to life to confound their heirs…well-heeled suburbanites hunt deer with home-made spears across the broad expanses of their lawns…a man retreats into silence when he realizes how colorless his life has been. There is a sense of loss at the core of many of the characters that we meet in these pages but there is also humor and insight! -John K. Brackett, Associate Professor of History, University of Cincinnati and author of Criminal Justice and Crime in Late Renaissance Florence

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