Thomas Williams (writer)

Last updated
Thomas Williams
Thomas Williams (writer).jpg
Born(1926-11-15)November 15, 1926
Duluth, Minnesota, United States
DiedOctober 23, 1990(1990-10-23) (aged 63)
Dover, New Hampshire, United States
Occupation Novelist, Short story writer
Genrefiction
Notable worksThe Hair of Harold Roux; Leah, New Hampshire

Thomas Williams (November 15, 1926 October 23, 1990) was an American novelist. [1] He won one U.S. National Book Award for Fiction The Hair of Harold Roux split the 1975 award with Robert Stone's Dog Soldiers [2] [3] [4] —and his last published novel, Moon Pinnace (1986), was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. [5]

Contents

Life and work

Born in Duluth, Minnesota in 1926, [6] Williams and his family moved to New Hampshire when he was a child and he spent most of his life working and writing in that state, although he attended the Iowa Writers' Workshop, the University of Chicago, and studied briefly in Paris. For most of his career he taught at the University of New Hampshire, and published eight novels during his lifetime. [5] His students included among them Alice McDermott and John Irving. [7] Irving wrote an introduction to a posthumous collection of Williams's collected stories, Leah, New Hampshire (1992). [8]

Williams lived in Durham, New Hampshire and died of lung cancer at a hospital in Dover, New Hampshire when he was 63. [1]

Williams is the father of writer and novelist Ann Joslin Williams who is the author of a collection of linked stories called The Woman in the Woods, which won the 2005 Spokane Prize. [9] Joslin Williams' first novel Down From Cascom Mountain, was published in 2011. Like her father, she attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and (as of 2011) is a Professor at the University of New Hampshire. [9]

Reception and legacy

Because he'd received one of the major US book awards in 1975 and because he was admired as a university writing instructor (as some of his former students can attest), Thomas Williams was a figure of some regard during the 1970s and 1980s when it seems his reputation had reached its peak. [8] Today, Williams continues to be remembered and admired among many writers and student of the craft, but into the 21st century he remains all but unknown to the general reading public. All of his books were out of print until 2011, when The Hair of Harold Roux was reissued, sparking a renewed interest in his work. [10] Stephen King, who had earlier dedicated his 1993 story collection Nightmares & Dreamscapes to Williams, said in a 2011 interview that The Hair of Harold Roux has remained, over the years, one of his favorite books, [11] and one he returns to "again and again." [12]

Selected bibliography

I used to hang out with this guy who taught at the University of New Hampshire who was a mentor of sorts. His name was Thomas Williams [...] We often went fishing and hunting together. A good many of his friends were also writers and so when they'd get together the talk would go from rainbow trout to Eudora Welty to rough grouse. So I just kept my mouth shut. There was a lot more I was going to learn than teach in that group. Tom always said, "just say what you mean as economically as possible and get out," and that's really what I try to do with my lyrics.

Bill Morrissey, singer & songwriter [13]

Fiction
Posthumous publications

Further reading

Related Research Articles

John Irving American novelist and screenwriter

John Winslow Irving is an American-Canadian novelist and screenwriter.

<i>The World According to Garp</i> Novel by John Irving

The World According to Garp is John Irving's fourth novel, about a man, born out of wedlock to a feminist leader, who grows up to be a writer. Published in 1978, the book was a bestseller for several years. It was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction in 1979, and its first paperback edition won the Award the following year.

National Book Award Literary award

The National Book Awards are a set of annual U.S. literary awards. At the final National Book Awards Ceremony every November, the National Book Foundation presents the National Book Awards and two lifetime achievement awards to authors.

<i>Nightmares & Dreamscapes</i>

Nightmares & Dreamscapes is a short story collection by writer Stephen King, published in 1993.

Antonia Fraser British author and novelist (born 1932)

Lady Antonia Margaret Caroline Fraser is a British author of history, novels, biographies and detective fiction. She is the widow of the 2005 Nobel Laureate in Literature, Harold Pinter (1930–2008), and prior to his death was also known as Lady Antonia Pinter.

Bernard Malamud

Bernard Malamud was an American novelist and short story writer. Along with Saul Bellow, Joseph Heller, and Philip Roth, he was one of the best known American Jewish authors of the 20th century. His baseball novel, The Natural, was adapted into a 1984 film starring Robert Redford. His 1966 novel The Fixer, about antisemitism in the Russian Empire, won both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize.

Robert Stone (novelist)

Robert Stone was an American novelist.

Viking Press

Viking Press is an American publishing company now owned by Penguin Random House. It was founded in New York City on March 1, 1925, by Harold K. Guinzburg and George S. Oppenheim and then acquired by the Penguin Group in 1975.

Conrad Richter American novelist

Conrad Michael Richter was an American novelist whose lyrical work is concerned largely with life on the American frontier in various periods. His novel The Town (1950), the last story of his trilogy The Awakening Land about the Ohio frontier, won the 1951 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. His novel The Waters of Kronos won the 1961 National Book Award for Fiction. Two collections of short stories were published posthumously during the 20th century, and several of his novels have been reissued during the 21st century by academic presses.

<i>Yargo</i> (novel)

Yargo is a romantic science fiction novel by Jacqueline Susann. It was written during the 1950s, but not published until 1979, four years after Susann's death.

Peter Matthiessen

Peter Matthiessen was an American novelist, naturalist, wilderness writer, zen teacher and CIA officer. A co-founder of the literary magazine The Paris Review, he was the only writer to have won the National Book Award in both nonfiction and fiction. He was also a prominent environmental activist.

Anthony Heilbut is an American writer, and record producer of gospel music. He is noted for his biography of Thomas Mann, and has also won a Grammy Award.

<i>Dog Soldiers</i> (novel)

Dog Soldiers is a novel by Robert Stone, published by Houghton Mifflin in 1974. The story features American journalist John Converse, a Vietnam correspondent during the war, Merchant Marine sailor Ray Hicks, Converse's wife Marge, and their involvement in a heroin deal gone bad. It shared the 1975 U.S. National Book Award for Fiction with The Hair of Harold Roux by Thomas Williams. Dog Soldiers was named by TIME magazine one of the 100 best English-language novels, 1923 to 2005.

John Edward Williams American writer

John Edward Williams was an American author, editor and professor. He was best known for his novels Butcher's Crossing (1960), Stoner (1965), and Augustus (1972), which won a U.S. National Book Award.

Bill Roorbach

Bill Roorbach is an American novelist, short story and nature writer, memoirist, journalist, blogger and critic.

The National Book Award for Fiction is one of five annual National Book Awards, which recognize outstanding literary work by United States citizens. Since 1987 the awards have been administered and presented by the National Book Foundation, but they are awards "by writers to writers". The panelists are five "writers who are known to be doing great work in their genre or field".

Al Hine (1915–1974) was a reporter, novelist, and movie producer who wrote numerous books including Lord Love a Duck, which was made into a movie starring Tuesday Weld and Roddy McDowall, and pop novels based on the Bewitched TV series and the Beatles' movie Help!.

<i>The Hair of Harold Roux</i>

The Hair of Harold Roux was a 1974 novel by Thomas Williams. The novel, unusually, shared the National Book Award for Fiction with Robert Stone's Dog Soldiers.

References

  1. 1 2 Fowler, Glenn (1990-10-25). "Thomas Williams Is Dead at 63; A Novelist and English Professor - New York Times". Nytimes.com. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  2. "National Book Awards – 1975". National Book Foundation. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
    (With acceptance speech by Williams and essay by David Kirby from the Awards 61-year anniversary blog.)
  3. Allard, Sam. "Thomas Williams' 'The Hair of Harold Roux' deserves a rousing readership". cleveland.com. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  4. "The Hair of Harold Roux" . Retrieved Jun 30, 2020.
  5. 1 2 "Thomas Williams; Award-Winning Novelist - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. 1990-11-06. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  6. "The Hair of Harold Roux by Thomas Williams". Ann Joslin Williams. 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  7. Harrigan, Jane. "Becoming John Irving". Unhmagazine.unh.edu. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  8. 1 2 McIntyre, John. "Reconsidering Thomas Williams | Pif Magazine". Pifmagazine.com. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  9. 1 2 "Ann Joslin Williams Homepage". Ann Joslin Williams. 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  10. "SEEING THE WORLD THROUGH BOOKS » Blog Archive » Thomas Williams–THE HAIR OF HAROLD ROUX". Marywhipplereviews.com. 2011-06-26. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  11. Parker, James (Apr 12, 2011). "Stephen King on the Creative Process, the State of Fiction, and More". The Atlantic. Retrieved Jun 30, 2020.
  12. "Stephen King: By the Book". Jun 4, 2015. Retrieved Jun 30, 2020 via NYTimes.com.
  13. "Bill Morrissey, Biography: Contemporary Musicians". Enotes.com. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  14. Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher (June 3, 1974). "Fictions Within Fictions:'The Hair of Harold Roux' by Thomas Williams: book review" (PDF). New York Times. Retrieved 2011-08-03.
  15. Ulin, David L. (2011-06-19). "'The Hair of Harold Roux' by Thomas Williams: book review - Los Angeles Times". Articles.latimes.com. Retrieved 2011-07-30.