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John A. Small was born in Oklahoma City in 1963, lived in Illinois for most of the next 28 years (with brief sojourns in Texas and Athens, Greece, thrown in to break up the monotony), then returned to his native state in 1991 and has lived there ever since.
He graduated from Bradley-Bourbonnais Community High School in 1981, and received his bachelor’s degree in journalism from Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois, in 1991. The years between finishing high school and starting college were a period frought with numerous exploits and misadventures, some of which have become the stuff of local legend; nobody was hurt along the way, however, which should count for something.
His newspaper work, both as columnist and as reporter, has been honored by the Oklahoma Press Association, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press, the National Newspaper Association and the Oklahoma Education Association. He began writing his weekly column, “Small Talk,” in 1988 while he was a student at Olivet, and earned several awards from the Illinois College Press Association. Upon his return to Oklahoma, the column quickly became a popular fixture in the Johnston County Capital-Democrat in Tishomingo, where he currently works as News Editor; the column’s simple, straightforward style attracted a diverse audience and earned Small the nickname “Bard of the Lesser Boulevards” from a journalistic colleague. A radio version of “Small Talk” was honored as “Best Radio Commentary” by the Oklahoma Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in 1998.
In addition to his professional career as a journalist he wrote and published a collection of Western short stories entitled “Days Gone By: Legends And Tales Of Sipokni West,” published in 2007; and was a contributor to the 2005 Locus Award-nominated science fiction anthology “Myths For The Modern Age: Philip Jose Farmer’s Wold Newton Universe,” edited by Win Scott Eckert. (Both books are available at Amazon.com.) He has also written a stage play and a self-published cookbook; served as project editor for a book about the JFK assassination entitled “The Men On The Sixth Floor”; and is the founder of the Ravia Institute for Apocalyptic Investigations. A lifelong fan of the Kingston Trio, the Monkees and the Chieftains, he has been known to throw heavy objects at people who say they don’t like the sound of the banjo, the bagpipes or Michael Nesmith.
Mr. Small married his high school sweetheart, the former Melissa Ulrich, in 1986. They have two sons, Joshua Orrin (b. 1991) and William Ian (b. 1996).