Prolific and acclaimed writer and St. Petersburg College Professor Dr. Gregory Byrd recently published a short story, Dita e Verës, in the Winter 2021 issue of Baltimore Review that was inspired in part by the time he spent in Albania.
Byrd, who has taught creative writing, English composition, and literature at SPC since 1990, earned his bachelor’s degree from Eckerd College, master’s degree in Creative Writing from Florida State University and his doctoral degree in American Literature from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
Byrd spent time as a Fulbright Fellow in Albania in 2011, teaching creative writing. His story, Dita e Verës, is a tale of unimaginable grief juxtaposed with a festive setting at the annual Albanian celebration of spring by the same name. Byrd said he received tragic news while in Albania during Dita e Verës.
“While I was there, my mother sent news that my cousin had been murdered in rural Nevada, her body buried in a shallow grave,” Byrd said. “About that time, we attended the Summer Day festival and it seemed ironic in a sort of T.S. Eliot way, that there would be a celebration of life while I was thinking of my cousin’s murder.”
Byrd has published many scholarly essays, articles and poetry, and he was nominated for a prestigious Pushcart Prize. His novels, both set in World War I, include Where Shadow Meets Water, about a pilot from Florida, and Long Train Home to Scarborough, about a reporter and a nurse. His poetry chapbook, The Name for the God Who Speaks, won the Robert Phillips Prize from Texas Review Press. He has also published two other poetry chapbooks, Florida Straits and At Penuel.
To read more about Byrd’s time in Albania, follow him on his blog.
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