Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1982, William R. Soldan grew up in and around the Rust Belt city of Youngstown, Ohio, with a brief stint in the hills of southern Oregon. A high school dropout and college graduate, he holds a BA in English Literature from Youngstown State University and an MFA from the Northeast Ohio Master of Fine Arts program. Over the years, he has been employed as a factory machinist, maintenance man, house painter, record store clerk, line-cook, bartender, bouncer, writing instructor, personal trainer, and a host of other things. William draws much of his inspiration from the urban and rural landscapes of the post-industrial Midwest–the stark beauty of it’s atmosphere, the resonant history, the strength and endurance of its grappling working-class. While he engages with many styles and forms, he’s most strongly influenced by the nebulous and often overlapping genres of Grit Lit, Southern and Midwestern Gothic, and rural noir.
Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, William’s work appears in publications such as Elm Leaves Journal, New World Writing, Jellyfish Review, Gordon Square Review, Coffin Bell, Thuglit, (b)OINK, Bending Genres, Anomaly Literary Journal, Cowboy Jamboree’s All We Need of Hell: A Harry Crews Tribute, Mystery Tribune, The Best American Mystery Stories 2017, Ohio’s Best Emerging Poets Anthology, and many others. His first book, In Just the Right Light, a linked short story collection set in northeast Ohio, is forthcoming from Unsolicited Press.
In the meantime, William resides in Youngstown with his wife and two children and divides his time between being a fitness coach and teaching writing workshops through Lit Youngstown, a literary non-profit organization devoted to cultivating creativity in the Mahoning Valley and wider Midwest region through a combination of public readings, workshops, and other events. He’s also the co-coordinator of The Strand Project, a staged set of dramatic monologues performed each spring in collaboration with Lit Youngstown and Selah Dinner Theatre.