Newbery Award-winning author, and friend of the Stuttering Foundation, Vince Vawter, completed his newspaper-themed trilogy with the publishing of Manboy, published in September 2023. Vawter, who stutters, grew up in the newspaper business, and spent more than four decades pursuing his craft. In retirement, his autobiographical trilogy, which includes Paperboy, Copyboy and Manboy, kept him busy writing each morning from 4:00am-6:30am—before his first cup of coffee.

The publishing of Manboy represent the end of a story arc first developed in Paperboy which follows the role of stuttering for the main character at different ages and phases of life.

“In Paperboy, the novel focuses on ‘Little Man’ Victor Vollmer and his stuttering at age 11, where we feel his confusion with the mysteries of stuttering. In Copyboy, Victor is 17, and we begin to see him as a more complete person, with his stuttering beginning to recede as he steps out on his own,” said Vawter.

"Now, in Manboy, Victor is 21 and takes on the larger task of acceptance of his stutter and learning to find his voice.”

Through his works, Vawter has, at times, reflected on his own journey with stuttering and what led to incorporating it as a major thematic element in his writing:

“It has been a central theme in my life. I did pass out on one occasion while trying to say my name. I did get embarrassed at a fancy restaurant and lose my spaghetti dinner in front of everybody. I did keep a thumbtack in my pocket and would jam it into my palm anytime I had to recite or read aloud in class. The stuttering in my books is certainly not fiction. I am still on that journey.”

Vawter is thankful much has changed since he began speech therapy in 1951. “SLPs now treat the whole person, and emphasize the importance of overall health,” he added. “I’m glad it’s no longer the ‘one size fits all’ approach of my day.”

In addition to writing, Vince spends his retirement traveling the country — physically and virtually — discussing his books with schools, reading and education groups, as well as stuttering advocacy organizations.

In Vawter's Manboy, Victor Vollmer is 21 years old now and has been waiting for three years to reunite with Philomene Moreau, the South Louisiana free spirit who saved his life in the Mississippi River. Soon after “Phil” arrives in Memphis, Vic’s meticulously planned weekend comes crashing down as a world event suddenly unfolds.

Vic, still dealing with his worrisome stutter, and, Phil, needing badly to share her secret, grapple with the tumult paralyzing the city. Aiding in their desperate search to find solace is a wise and steadying soul from Vic’s past.
Manboy is a work of historical fiction set against the actual newspaper headlines of five days in April 1968 that changed the world.

Vince Vawter, a native of Memphis and a person who stutters, retired after a 40-year career in newspapers. He and his wife, Betty, live in Tennessee on a small farm in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains. For more information, visit

From the 2024 Spring Magazine