SRU biology professor wins writing award



Sept. 10, 2015

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Simon Beeching, Slippery Rock University professor of biology, has captured a writing award for a short story illustrating his passion for preserving biodiversity.

"High Lonesome" won first prize in a short fiction contest sponsored by "Fictuary: A Universe of Short Stories." The story is slated for an October posting in the online magazine "Feed Me Fiction."

The story concerns a professor who works in the local woods and streams and lives near Moraine State Park. His research and travels lead him to consider both the beauty of western Pennsylvania and the tragic impact of human activities on forests and watersheds.

He is ultimately confronted with an even more immediate social problem when his fieldwork leads him into a disturbing, violent and all too frequent situation.

"The story is, like some other recent work of mine, a mixture of story-telling and environmental commentary," said Beeching, who joined SRU in 1991.

simon beeching


Contest judges wrote, "Our collective decision was heavily influenced by your use of vivid imagery, the metamorphosis of your story from a naturalist tale to one of violence and self-preservation, and the smooth transitions leading the reader seamlessly from one scene to the next. Within the first few paragraphs, you were able to grab our attention with a sense of building tension that did not release until the very end of your story."

A vertebrate zoologist, Beeching researches the structure and behavior of animals, especially fish. He leads SRU's involvement in the Marine Science Consortium at Wallops Island, Va., where students conduct ocean-related research supporting the biology major and marine science minor.

He received his bachelor's degree from the University of Maine/Fort Kent and a doctorate in zoology from Indiana University.

When not teaching or writing, Beeching plays guitar as a working musician.

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