Cleveland's Best Writer
So who is the best writer in the Cleveland area? It's a question I've been asked occasionally. And of course there's really no definitive answer. This is an utterly subjective category, and resists any authoritative answer. Besides, there are so damn many great writers in this town, who pursue such different kinds of writing. How could you parse them all down to a single best?
Having said all that, however, I do have a favorite Cleveland writer, one who I think of as possibly the best on several levels. He's a quiet craftsman who has been writing great stuff (without any personal drama or attempts to call attention to himself) for decades. While our paths have crossed through various publications, and we apparently have some mutual friends and acquaintances, I've never yet met him (though perhaps I will try to soon). But I have been reading his work for about 20 years now in various venues, and have always marveled over it. It's always interesting, fluid, sometimes (maybe often) even hypnotic. Best of all, his work always manages to accomplish that hardest thing of all in writing, a subject about which I've talked before: as a writer, he gets out of the way and lets the writing take center stage. To me, that's the mark of a consummate pro.
After that introduction, perhaps you think he's a household name. Well, perhaps to some discriminating readers, he might be. But to the vast majority of readers, it may be more accurate to call him an unknown. His name is John Hyduk. You can sample his latest work here. I've only mentioned him twice (here and here) before in this venue (shame on me, and double shame for once misspelling his name). You can also see his work here, here, here, here and here.