“Reading is probably what leads most writers to writing.” – Richard Ford
Ford is a novelist and short story writer, perhaps best-known works for novels The Sportswriter and its sequels, Independence Day (winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and The PEN/Faulkner Award), The Lay of the Land and Let Me Be Frank with You, also a Pulitzer Prize finalist this past year.
A native Mississippian born on this day in 1944, Ford also wrote the terrific short story collection Rock Springs, which has been widely anthologized. A story collection mostly set in Montana, it includes some of his most popular stories and pretty much cemented his reputation as one of the finest writers of his generation.
Ford struggled with dyslexia in his growing up years and didn’t get seriously interested in reading literature until his college days at Michigan State. He has stated in interviews that his dyslexia may, however, have helped him as a reader and then in becoming a writer, forcing him to approach books at a slow and thoughtful pace.
He earned a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from California-Irvine where he was taught by both Oakley Hall and E.L. Doctorow. He said he owes a tremendous debt to both for helping develop his writing skills. A fine editor, too, he has been widely sought after to do editing work and has edited many award-winning works.
While it’s been said often, including in this blog, Ford states that the best way to be a great writer is to write about what you know best. “Happiness for me,” he said, “is getting to write about the most important things I know.”
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