Last year, as a freshman accounting major at The University of Texas at Tyler, Josiah Summerville of Cayuga didn’t realize he would be known on campus not only for his athletic skills but also his written word.
A member of the Patriots men’s basketball team, Summerville – now a sophomore – can add “published writer” to his accomplishments.
Summerville wrote the story “A Big Game” as a freshman studying composition under Luke Goebel, UT Tyler (then visiting) assistant professor of English. Summerville’s work is now featured in The New York Tyrant, a cutting-edge New York literary journal.
Goebel, who is heavily involved with the bi-annual publication, recognized his student’s strong writing skills and considered the story for inclusion as guest editor of the latest edition, Vol. 4 No. 1.
“Josiah is such an exceptional writer in that he has this idiom and manner of speech and this great engaging heart that is clearly all his own,” Goebel said. “I was taken by the uniqueness of voice and the honesty and dearness of the story. I asked him if I could consider it for the issue when he was still in my class. He said yes. Now it’s in print.”
As a basketball player, his story involves the art of playing the sport, too.
“My story is simply about me, how silly, nervous, sensitive and clumsy I am,” Summerville said. “It explains that I shouldn’t be so tough on myself because we are all human, and we are all the same even though we are physically different. I did not know how to react to it being published at first, but once I saw my name in the book, I realized that it’s a big accomplishment and something very special that not too many people do.”
And now Summerville’s name is among many winners of awards, endowments and people of the greatest literary importance, Goebel added.
“Most of the writers in the issue are seasoned veteran writers with stories published in many of the top journals such as The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Harpers, Black Warrior Review, Conjunctions, etc.,” Goebel said. “This is a huge deal for The New York Tyrant and UT Tyler; The New York Tyrant had previously never published the writing of a college freshman before.”
With all the others’ accolades, Summerville is not daunted. He describes his writing style as “simple.”
“I try to start off with a small short story about anything and let everything else come to me within the story or essay. I never found writing a hobby, but I don’t have a problem writing. Back in high school, my grades showed that I rarely had trouble with writing,” Summerville explained.
He will read an excerpt of “A Big Game” during a special public reading at 7 p.m. Thursday at the UT Tyler University Center theater. A question and answer session will follow.
When he’s not studying or playing hoops, Summerville enjoys collecting music and cooking. He also is a member of the UT Tyler Black Student Association and Student Athlete Advisory Committee.
Summerville will graduate in May 2015 and hopes to become a certified public accountant. His brother Caleb also is his teammate on the court, playing basketball for the Patriots as well.