Kevin Powers was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. A former soldier who served with the US army in Iraq in 2004-5, he studied English at Virginia Commonwealth University after his honorable discharge and received an MFA in Poetry from the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. His debut novel, The Yellow Birds, won the Guardian First book Award, the Hemingway Foundation/PEN Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Award. His first collection of poetry, Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting, was published in 2014 and was shortlisted for both the TS Eliot Prize and the Forward Prize.
An American Civil War epic [which] confirms Powers as a significant talent. - Observer'Gorgeous, devastating... As in his first novel, The Yellow Birds, Powers details these inhumane acts with elegance, restraint and a refreshing absence of sentimentality. His spare, meticulous sentences lend a perverse beauty to even the most brutal passages of the novel and give immediacy and emotional heft to the ordeals of its characters... lays bare the tremendous suffering on which our country was founded and demands its acknowledgment. But Powers also offers love and grace in these pages, and a prayer for redemption. - New York TimesA work of historical fiction that is as unflinching an examination of our capacity for cruelty and violence as his debut. . . Powers packs much into a relatively short work. . . there is no mistaking the intensity of his vision and his ability to conjure up scenes that stick in the mind. . . A novel that memorably illustrates not only the ways in which violence breeds further violence but also the unrelenting power of the past to shape the present. - Sunday TimesPowers's prose is lyrical. . . his evocation of slavery-era Richmond is powerfully achieved. - The TimesThe writing is beautiful and powerful. A Shout in the Ruins is confirmation, if it were needed, that Kevin Powers is a writer of rare talent. - FTRanging across time and following several characters whose lives become entangled by chance, family connection and conflict, Powers returns here - with similar, admirable compression - to themes he took up in his celebrated debut, The Yellow Birds . . . A Shout in the Ruins illuminates an entire lost era. - Literary ReviewA harrowing and lyrical epic in miniature, Powers has written a novel excavated from another time, but which speaks profoundly to this one.A daring voyage into and out of the darkest era in American history. - Observer