“Literature has as one of its principal allures that it tells you something about life that life itself can't tell you. I just thought literature is a thing that human beings do.” – Richard Ford
Born in Mississippi on this date in 1944, Ford is a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist and short story writer best known for his novels The Sportswriter, Independence Day, The Lay of the Land, and Let Me Be Frank With You. He also wrote the best-selling short story collection Rock Springs, which has many widely anthologized stories.
The grandson of a railroad engineer, Ford started his adult life working for the railroad before deciding to further pursue his love of literature by studying English Literature at Michigan State University.
“I started reading literature at 17 or 18, and I felt this extra beat to life,” he said. “Reading is probably what leads most writers to writing.” And so he became a writer, although he took a swing at law school first before dropping out to attend a creative writing program at the University of California. His first books were well received but not big sellers, so he went to work as a sportswriter, a great move since it eventually led to his first bestseller, The Sportswriter.
Journalism and his personality provide plenty for a good writing base. “My job is to have empathy and curiosity for things that I've never done,” he said. “Also, I'm a person whom people talk to.”
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