The Shoe Burnin’: Stories of Southern Soul is a collection of the works of 24 diverse, talented southern writers and singers.


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 story “Jeremiah’s Road” was included in Prize Stories 1994: The O. Henry Awards, and “The Dry Well” was honored with the Andrew Lytle Prize for Best Short Story, awarded by Sewanee Review in 1995. His first collection of stories, The Dry Well, was published in 2001. Barton has since published two novels and a second story collection.


Excerpt from The Shoe Burnin' Stories of Southern Soul

“Short Days, Dog Days” by Marlin Barton

I don’t care what people read in the paper, I never did call it a flying saucer. And I ain’t calling it one now. People are saying I’ve lost my mind, what there was left of it to lose. That’s their joke on me. I know. My wife’s told me. Sometimes I think I’m her joke. And my lesbian daughter’s.


The Cross Garden

“The Cross Garden is an incredible novel that explores the complex relationship between the past and the present and its impact on two generations of Alabama men. . . . Barton’s love of and passion for the landscape of Alabama is evident in every paragraph. His writing is strong yet still, perfectly suited to the characters and the story he tells.”

—Carolyn Haines

The Dry Well

The Dry Well is simply wonderful. Marlin Barton is a writer to watch.”
—Melinda Haynes, author of Mother of Pearl


sb_-book_coverThe Shoe Burnin': Stories of Southern Soul (2013)

The Cross Garden (2011)

Dancing by the River(2005)

A Broken Thing (2003)

The Dry Well (2001)