Early Guitars and Vihuela

A network for historic guitars and vihuelas

James Gallant's prize-winning "La Leona and Other Guitar Stories"


Some years back--I forget how many!--I had a discussion here with some Early Guitar and Vihuela posters about a project I was just beginning: a series of short stories involving early guitarists and guitar-makers. The stories were completed within the past ten years and most have seen literary magazine publication. Two published online by Fortnightly Review (UK)  and available  free are "New Light on the Ball in Brussels," and "Francesco Roberto, from His Diaries":



Some of the characters are actual persons, some inventions of mine. In either case, the characters, and the situations that engage them are mainly inventions of mine. This is not the kind of “historical fiction” scrupulously faithful to known fact. The stories, dealing with enthusiasts for the guitar and vihuela from the fourteenth century to Segovia, are arranged roughly in chronological order. I had difficulty interesting major commercial publishers with the project, but this past year my book, La Leona, and Other Guitar Stories, won the annual music-in-literature contest sponsored by Schaffner Press, and will be published in paperback this coming July.

--James Gallant


From Schaffner Press:

James Gallant of Atlanta, author of the story collection La Leona and Other Guitar Stories, has won the sixth annual Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature. As a result, the book will be published by Schaffner Press in 2020. The award is presented annually to a work of fiction, nonfiction or poetry that deals in some way with the subject of music and its influence, and it celebrates the life of publisher Tim Schaffner's brother Nicholas, who was a poet, musician, biographer and music critic.

Schaffner commented: "James Gallant's highly imaginative story collection provides a kaleidoscopic journey through the evolution of the classical guitar and guitar music as backdrop to the hurly-burly of western cultural history that includes whimsical cameos of such historical characters as Shakespeare, Walt Whitman and Jean-Paul Marat. Along the way, readers discover the origins of the troubadours, the guitar's evolution, and the secrets of the luthier's craft. In a style that is reminiscent of Jorge Luis Borges, Italo Calvino and Peter Cameron, these fictions make twists and turns as surprising and delightful as the music Mr. Gallant celebrates."

Gallant plays classical guitar and is the author of Verisimilitudes: essays and approximations, The Big Bust at Tyrone's Rooming House: A Novel of Atlanta, and Whatever Happened to Ohio?

Publication scheduled for July 2020.

Pre-publication orders at Barnes and Noble:





















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