Andrew Carlson was born on October 29, 1972, to Nick and Jessica Carlson of Summerville, SC, the first of what would be five children.
With twin sisters arriving when he was six, followed by another sister one year later and a brother a year after that, Andrew always felt separate from his siblings. He was the big boy, and they were the squalling, needy babies.
The kids, as he called them, demanded all his mother's time, and children his age didn't like playing at the house where they weren't allowed to make noise or play with toys that might prove dangerous to little ones.
Nick Carlson worked at a grocery store in general merchandise, and Jessica supplemented his income with sewing and preparing tax returns. Nick's hours and Jessica's need to work when work was available meant Andrew often played the grown-up, responsible for watching and feeding his younger brother and sisters.
In school, Andrew frequently acted out. By the time he was a freshman in high school, he served detention weekly for disrespect, culminating in a suspension before Christmas break for punching a teacher.
At that point, the school's principal took the matter in hand, assigning Andrew to spend an hour each day before school on a special project. While the principal ate his breakfast and reviewed his obligations for the day, Andrew would read aloud a section from William Faulkner's novel, The Sound and The Fury.
For whatever reason, the experience allowed Andrew to pull himself together and better manage his behavior. The change was notable enough that the English department created and presented Andrew with the "William Faulkner Award."
Andrew continued focusing on Faulkner throughout his college years, appearing in peer-reviewed publications more often than many of his professors, even as an undergraduate. Andrew chose Faulkner as his subject for every seminar and thesis, as well as his dissertation.
As soon as he received his doctorate, Southeast Missouri State University approached Andrew and hired him to head up The Center for Faulkner Studies.
Douglas Reed was instrumental in convincing Andrew to speak at this year's Faulkner & Yoknapatawpha Conference.