Dylan-esque folkie Josh Ritter, 33, has signed on with Random House imprint The Dial Press to publish his first work of fiction, Bright’s Passage, in summer 2011. Ritter told EW, “It was while I was writing song for my new record, So Runs the World Away (coming out May 4th) that the story came into my head for Bright’s Passage. Several of the songs on So Runs the World Away are fairly complicated narrative songs, so my first instinct was to try and make Henry Bright’s story into a song. As I thought about it, though, I realized this was my chance to try my hand at a novel.” He added, “I’ve written lots of longer-form fiction before, but none that I’d ever think to show anyone. I’ve always thought that one of the most important talents a good writer can have is the knowledge of when to share a work and when to leave it locked in your desk. Besides my songs, Bright’s Passage is the first work I’ve I wanted anyone to see.”

Ritter says that for him, songwriting and novel-writing bring the same challenges: “While the audience may not be in the room with a novelist, they still demand the same kind of attention as they do from the performance of a song. They ask that you give them your full attention, that you are generous with your time and that you don’t over stay your welcome. They give you their trust, and if they can tell your efforts have been for the right reasons, they’ll give you the room for whatever flights of imagination you’re willing to take them on.” Who does he like to read? “Muriel Spark, Pete Dexter, Dennis Lehane Stephen King, Mordecai Richler, Philip Roth and Daphne du Maurier and Flannery O’Connor. I like anyone who is willing to burn their own dollhouses down.”

Ritter, a favorite of EW columnist Stephen King, will be touring throughout the spring to promote So Runs The World Away.