Born in Nacogdoches, Texas, Dews received his B.A. in Humanities from the University of Texas at Austin and an M.A. and Ph.D. in American Literature from the University of Minnesota. He taught American literature and creative writing at the University of West Florida from 1994-2003 and served as the Chair of the Department of English and Foreign Languages there from 2000-2002. Tenured and promoted to Associate Professor in 1999, Dews served as the Founding Director of the Carson McCullers Center for Writers and Musicians at Columbus State University in McCullers’s hometown of Columbus, Georgia, from 2001-2003. After ten years of university teaching and administration, Dews left the academy in 2003 to pursue writing full-time.
Dews's books include his edition of The Complete Novels of Carson McCullers (Library of America). "Illumination and Night Glare": The Unfinished Autobiography of Carson McCullers (University of Wisconsin). With Carolyn Leste Law, Dews edited Out in the South (Temple) and This Fine Place So Far From Home: Voices of Academics from the Working Class (Temple).
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