Winner of the 2017 International Book Award for Best Short Fiction
Author of


"As he proves emphatically with his new collection, Friday Afternoon and Other Stories, T.D. Johnston is clearly one of the modern masters of the short story."—
James Dodson, Editor, O. Henry Magazine and PineStraw Magazine

"The short story is a uniquely powerful form, and T.D. Johnston has harnessed that power to stunning effect. The prose of this collection paints like John Updike and boxes like Norman Mailer upon the page. If it’s true that Raymond Carver’s arrival revitalized the short story’s place in American literature, then with this collection a torch has been passed to a new master of the form." —James Goertel, author of Carry Each His Burden

"This collection of short stories proves without doubt that T.D. Johnston is one of the finest voices of contemporary short fiction. These stories are filled with wit, pathos, and compassion. Johnston skillfully leads his readers through the sometimes murky moral landscape of life to which we all can relate. Always firmly in control of where he wants to take us, he never leaves us disappointed."—Ray Morrison, author of In a World of Small Truths

"This superb collection proves that true suspense derives from moral choices. T.D. Johnston is a mesmerizing storyteller." — Martin McCaw, author, winner of the Global Short Story Prize

"Storyteller T.D. Johnston is a closer. He knows the secret that some writers never learn – that a great story demands a great ending. Some of his endings are deliciously open – almost like new beginnings – while others are as shocking and final as a door slammed in your face. In story after tantalizing story, Johnston sends his variously-flawed characters wobbling down the brutal balance beam of human existence – building tension as they go – then sticks his landing like an Olympic gymnast. Only then do we realize we’ve been holding our breath... and sometimes holding back tears."— Margaret Evans, Editor, Lowcountry Weekly

"T.D. Johnston boldly explores a wide range of both subject matter and genre, with masterful attention to the old-age elements of good writing."—Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides

"T.D. Johnston, champion and master of the short story, focuses his artful eye on the American experience in a way that reveals the many facets of our souls. "—Eric M. Witchey, winner of multiple awards for short fiction

"Lucky is the person who holds this book, for the pages inside bubble with danger, excitement, compassion, and humanity. T.D. Johnston’s fiction will undoubtedly change how a reader sees and thinks. A needed literary voice."—Mathieu Cailler, author of Loss Angeles

"You come home from a day of no surprises, thinking you’ll just relax with a hot drink and something amusing to read. But then you pick up a short story from T.D. Johnston instead and, almost immediately, you’re knocked off balance. It’s just an insistent little nudge at first, but the nudges get more and more insistent, along with the knot forming in your stomach. You never see the end that’s coming because it sneaks in around a corner where you never thought to look. T.D. Johnston isn’t just a master of suspense. He’s a master of surprise." —Susan Mary Dowd, author of The Yard

"This is an important collection. Powerful, provocative, and significant. To read a T.D. Johnston story is to plunge head first into the world of unforgettable characters, 3-D experiences, and stunning surprises."—Marjorie Brody, award-winning author and Pushcart Prize nominee, author of the psychological suspense novel, Twisted

"There are unspoken tributes in these stories of T.D. Johnston: O. Henry and Ray Bradbury and John Cheever come satisfyingly to my mind. But these moving stories are all Johnston’s own, in voice and style and innovation of the genre he has done so much to revive with his inspired Short Story America. From the intensely human, wise but challenged Stan in "A Game of Chess" to the speeding and slow-to-understand CEO in "Friday Afternoon," we’re all here in this book. And we’ve got to feel, as happens with the best of short stories, that at the end we may be surprised, even shamed, but we’ve been instructed, too: the best fiction inspires and teaches. It changes us for the better."—Gregg Cusick, author, winner of the Lorian Hemingway Prize for Short Fiction

"The stories in T.D. Johnston’s Friday Afternoon and Other Stories showcase the author’s compassionate attention to emotional details, the vigor of his storytelling, and the rich variety in his voices, style, and subject matter—all crackling with the tension between hope and despair." —Paul Elwork, author of The Girl Who Would Speak for the Dead

"T.D. Johnston’s collection feels at once classic and fresh. Each story is its own world, immediate and enjoyable. Through his work at Short Story America, he has invigorated a community of writers, and this collection is a wonderful testament to his own mastery of the short story form." —Alex Myers, author of Revolutionary (Simon & Schuster).

"At the present historical moment, T.D. Johnston may be the short story’s best friend. A scholar of the form and a dedicated anthologist, he is foremost a storyteller, and the short form is his specialty. Whether evoking the Civil War or a contemporary moment, his eye for the precise, essential detail grounds his characters’ experience in dilemmas and settings a reader is pleased to enter. His perspective is ultimately warm and humane, and it settles gracefully on men, women, boys and girls, in an invigorating array of circumstances. His growing body of work is a heartening testimony to the medium of short fiction."—Richard Hawley, author of The Headmaster’s Papers

"Friday Afternoon and Other Stories is an impressive debut. In this collection, Johnston channels masters of short form fiction such as Raymond Carver, Flannery O’Connor, and William Gay, while writing fully original stories in his own voice. Start with "The Errand," continue with "Friday Afternoon," and then enjoy the rest of the wild and satisfying ride." —Evan Kuhlman, author of Wolf Boy and The Last Invisible Boy

"Friday Afternoon and Other Stories lends great honor to an American literary tradition. Through lean, active prose, with no time to spare, we are driven straight to the heart of the matter. We’re shown how damaged characters grapple with exterior pressures while clawing through the grim and gritty landscapes of their inner worlds, and who by doing so, teach us to become more compassionate creatures." –Jodi Paloni, author of They Could Live with Themselves

"Once, while in West Hollywood discussing a series, an entertainment lawyer lamented, ‘You just don’t see quality material being delivered by authors with the style of a Rod Serling or Richard Matheson anymore.’ Well, thanks, T.D. Johnston, for putting that myth to rest. With this collection of well-crafted, powerful tales, Johnston provides satisfying hope to those of us who love excellent short stories." —Mark Hunt, Film Producer and Grammy Nominee, Tom Dowd and The Language of Music

"T.D. Johnston’s compassion for his characters is compelling and crucial to understanding people much like ourselves. Unique in its look at cruelty in the guise of conformity to the rules of the workplace, home place or road, Friday Afternoon and Other Stories is a tour de force that will stay with you for a very long time." —Warren Slesinger, award-winning author, poet, and retired senior editor of the University of South Carolina Press

"Erudite doomsters be damned. Friday Afternoon and Other Stories is proof positive that the Southern Gothic tradition - and the short story as an art form - are still alive and kicking. Highly recommended." —Rolli, author of God’s Autobio

"This collection by T.D. Johnston settles the reader in a comfortable easy chair and then proceeds to prick him with electrifying barbs, pelt him with bizarre happenings, or turn time and place upside down. In some cases, such as the opening story, "The Errand," we stay within normal boundaries, with the protagonist’s anxiety brilliantly rendered. The theme of finding purpose in life is a leitmotif throughout, whether in the eerie "Friday Afternoon," in which a narcissistic and arrogant CEO of a floor-covering company gets his comeuppance, or in "A Morning Along the Way," in which a black teenage girl selects a boy because he will escape their Southern town and go to college, an ambition she shares. There are also some satirical and unforgettable Orwellian stories ("The Closing" and "Sixth Period"), set in a future where college degrees are sold to the highest bidder ("The Closing") and, in "Sixth Period," the seven deadly sins have been reduced by Congress to six: greed has been deleted by law because it is deemed an attribute. "A Game of Chess," a particular favorite of mine, is a moving diary narrative of a janitor whose character gains inner strength by story’s end. Johnston’s characters are often familiar—either like us or someone we know—but each gains uniqueness through his versatile storytelling."—Laury A. Egan, author of Fog and Other Stories and Jenny Kidd

©  T.D. Johnston