Richard Ford is a Southern, non-Southern
author. Ford was born and grew up in Mississippi, but apart from
A Piece of My Heart, his books are not set in the South.
Not only does he not write about the South, but in an interview
in Harpers Ford said, Personally, I dont
think there is such a thing as Southern writing or Southern literature
or Southern ethos.
Ford was born February 16, 1944,
in Jackson, Mississippi. He received his B.A. from Michigan
State University. After a brief enrollment in law school, Ford
turned to writing fiction. He received his MFA from the University
of California at Irvine. He has also lived in Montana and New
Ford has been a Guggenheim fellow
(1977-78), and a two-time National Endowment for the Arts fellow
(1979-80, 1985-86). Ford won a PEN/Faulkner citation for fiction
award for The Sportswriter in 1987.
The Sportswriter and its
sequel, Independence Day, are both set in suburban New Jersey.
In a New York Times Book Review interview, Ford said that
in these books he was not trying to write a novel about New
Jersey, but a novel about America that was set in New Jersey.
For the latter novel, Ford received both a PEN/Faulkner Award and
the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, making him the first writer to win
both awards for a single work.
If the regional versus national
labelings of these books are not enough to spark debate in classes
of American Literature, Fred Hobson, in his book The Southern
Writer in the Postmodern World, identifies the Southern imagination
at work in Fords fiction: In The Sportswriter,
the presumed ex-Southerner has written a book about New Jersey that
is very much a book about the South.
Among the numerous other awards
and honors Ford has received are a Guggenheim Fellowship, two grants
from the National Endowment for the Arts, an American Academy of
Arts and Letters Award for Literature, and the 1994 Rea Award, which
is given annually to a writer who has made a contribution to the
short story as an art form.
Related Links & Info
For a more detailed
profile of Richard Ford, please check out Don
Lees article about the author for the Fall 1996 issue of
Ploughshares, which Ford edited.
After winning the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for Independence
Day, Richard Ford was interviewed on PBSs Newshour
by Elizabeth Farnsworth. A transcript
of that interview is available from the Online
Newshour web site.
- The Ultimate Good Luck. Boston: Houghton-Miflin, 1981.
- The Sportswriter. New York: Vintage, 1986.
- A Piece of My Heart. London: Collins Harvill, 1987.
- Wildlife. Boston: Little, Brown, Co, 1990.
- Independence Day. London: Harvill Press, 1995.
Fiction: Short Stories
- Rock Springs. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 1987.
- Women with Men: Three Stories. New York: Knopf, 1997.
- A Multitude of Sins: Stories. New York: Knopf, 2002.
- American Tropical. (Play) Produced at Louisvilles Actors Theater, Louisville, Kentucky, 1983.
- Bright Angel. (Screenplay; based on Fords short stories Children and Great Falls.) Dir. Michael Fields. Hemdale, 1991.
- My Mother in Memory. Elmwood, Conn.: Raven Editions, 1988. (Limited edition).
Additional Publications (Anthologies, etc.)
- Contributor, Fifty Great Years of Esquire Fiction. Ed.
L. Rust Hills. Viking, 1983.
- Introduction, The Pushcart Prize, XIII: Best of the Small Presses.
Ed. Bill Henderson. Wainscott, N.Y.: Pushcart Press, 1988.
- Editor (with Shannon Ravenel), The Best American Short Stories
1990. New York: Houghton-Miflin, 1990.
- Contributor, Writers on Writing. Ed. Robert Pack and
Jay Parini. Hanover: Middlebury College Press, University Press of New
- Editor, The Granta Book of the American Short Story.
London: Granta, 1992.
- Introduction, Arent You Happy for Me? and Other Stories,
by Richard Bausch. London: Macmillan, 1995.
- Introduction, The Fights, by Charles Hoff. Chronicle,
- Editor (with Michael Kreyling), Eudora Welty: Complete Novels,
by Eudora Welty.
New York: Library of America, 1998.
- Editor (with Michael Kreyling), Eudora Welty: Stories, Essays,
and Memoir, by Eudora
Welty. New York: Library of America, 1998.
- Editor, The Granta Book of the American Long Story.
Granta Books, 1999.
- Portraits of America, by William Albert Allard. Foreword
by Richard Ford. National Geographic Society, 2001.
- Conversations with Richard Ford. Edited by Huey Guagliardo.
Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2001.
- Introduction, Juke Joint. Photographs by Birney Imes.
Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2002.
Books and Articles about Richard Ford:
- Guagliardo, Huey, ed. Perspectives on Richard Ford. U Press of Mississippi, 2000. Book info
- Guagliardo, Huey, ed. Conversations with Richard Ford. U Press of Mississippi, 2001. Book info
- Lee, Don. About Richard Ford: A Profile. Ploughshares 22.2-3 (Fall 1996): 226-35.
- Smith, Dinitia. A Nomads Ode to Soffit and Siding. New York Times (22 August 1995).
- Walker, Elinor Ann. Richard Ford. New York: Twayne, 2000.
- Weber, Bruce. Richard Fords Uncommon Characters. New York Times Magazine (10 April 1988): 50.
Reviews and Criticism:
- Ballantyne, Sheila. A Family Too Close to the Fire. Rev. of Wildlife. New York Times Book Review (17 June 1990): 3.
- Bean, Thomas. Richard Ford and Gatherings from Spain. The Book Collector 44.1 (Spring 1995): 67-71.
- Bonetti, Kay. An Interview with Richard Ford. The Missouri Review 10.2 (1987): 71-96.
- Bryan, C.D.B. Mexican Coke Rap. Rev. of The Ultimate Good Luck. New York Times Book Review (31 May 1981): 13.
- Crouse, David. Resisting Reduction: Closure in Richard Fords Rock Springs and Alice Munros Friend of My Youth. Canadian Literature 146 (Autumn 1995): 51-64.
- Dupuy, Edward. The Confessions of an Ex-Suicide: Relenting and Recovering in Richard Fords The Sportswriter. Southern Literary Journal 23.1 (Fall 1990): 93-103.
- Ebert, Roger. Rev. of Bright Angel (film). Chicago Sun Times (28 June 1991).
- Ford, Harriet L. The Salamanca of Richard Ford: Notes from the Margaret I. King Library. The Kentucky Review 3.2 (1982): 93-98.
- Gornick, Vivian. Tenderhearted Men: Lonesome, Sad and Blue. New York Times Book Review (16 September 1990): 1, 32-33.
- Gorra, Michael. Evasive Maneuvers. Rev. of Women with Men. New York Times Book Review (13 July 1997).
- Hoffman, Alice. A Wife Named X, a Poodle Named Elvis. Rev. of The Sportswriter. New York Times Book Review (23 March 1986): 14.
- Johnson, Charles. Stuck in the Here and Now. Rev. of Independence Day. New York Times Book Review (18 June 1995).
- Kakutani, Michiko. Books of the Times. Rev. of The Sportswriter. New York Times (26 February 1986): C21.
- Kakutani, Michiko. Books of the Times. Rev. of Rock Springs. New York Times (16 September 1987): C28.
- Kakutani, Michiko. Books of the Times: Afloat in the Turbulence of the American Dream. Rev. of Independence Day. New York Times (13 June 1995).
- Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher. Books of the Times: A Triangle of Mother, Father and Son. Rev. of Wildlife. New York Times (1 June 1990: C27.
- Nelli, Sergio. A proposito di un Richard Ford minore e non. (In Italian.) Il Lettore di Provincia, Ravenna, Italy; 25.91 (December 1994): 87-90.
- Riera, Miguel. Las etiquetas limitan: Entrevista con Richard Ford. (In Spanish.) Quimera: Revista de Literatura, Barcelona, Spain; 70-71 (November 1987): 64-67.
- Shelton, Frank W. Richard Ford (1944- ). Contemporary Fiction Writers of the South: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook. Eds. Joseph M. Flora and Robert Bain. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1993. 147-55.
- Trussler, Michael. Famous Times: Historicity in the Short Fiction of Richard Ford and Raymond Carver. Wascana Review of Contemporary Poetry and Short Fiction 28.2 (Fall 1994): 35-53.
- Wideman, John. Love and Truth: Use with Caution. Rev. of Rock Springs. New York Times Book Review (20 September 1987): 1.
- Zacharek, Stephanie. The Sum of Its Parts. Rev. of Women with Men. Hungry Mind Review.
General Author Information:
- Richard Ford. General information and reviews from The Mississippi Writers and Musicians Project of Starkville High School.
Online Texts and Interviews by Richard Ford:
Publisher Web Sites:
Other Web Sites:
- Word for Word. Features information about a stage production of Fords story Communist in the San Francisco Bay area, Summer 1999.
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