Nebraska Center for Writers

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Long regarded as one of the most gifted American writers, WRIGHT MORRIS was the author of over thirty-three award-winning books, among them the National Book Award in 1956 for his novel A Field of Vision. His most recent novel, Plains Song won the 1981 American Book Award for Fiction. He is the author of seventeen other novels, several collections of short stories, books of criticism, and a number of photo-text books. Black Sparrow Press has reprinted Writing My Life (1993) and Three Easy Pieces (1993). The University of Nebraska Press has brought out several titles in handsome reprint editions. Despite his many books and awards, widespread popularity eluded him during his lifetime. Stephen Goodwin, in The Washington Post Book World, said, "No writer in America is more honored and less read than Wright Morris." Geoffrey Wolff, writing in The New York Times Book Review July 25, 1976), explains Morris's reputation this way: "Perhaps [the lack of] response to his work is less mysterious than it is regrettable. For Morris has no single voice, nothing like the kind of assertive style that marks a paragraph, wherever it is found, by Stanley Elkin or Saul Bellow or Vladmir Nabokov. And this is his grace: he will not be a star; he allows all ties to be subsumed by the matter at hand, the object under his care. As as there are so many objects in his junkshop, in the world, so are there many voices. ..." Walter Allen, writing in The Modern Novel (EP Dutton, 1964), says, "Wright Morris is one of the liveliest talents in the American novel today, and of his dozen or so novels one could scarcely pick out any single one as absolutely typical of his work. But he is always a formidable technician, able to bring past and present together in a single moment of time, and a writer in whom the bizarre, the pathetic and the comic exist cheek by jowl...." And in his Wright Morris (U of Minnesota P, 1968), Leon Howard writes, "No other American novelist has approached him in the rich variety of his raw materials and in the ability to keep them raw enough to seem real while they are being handled with an art as sophisticated as that of Henry James." For many years, Morris and his wife, Josephine Mary Kantor, made their home in Mill Valley, California. He was born in Central City, Nebraska on January 6, 1910 and died in April 1998. For more information about Wright Morris, visit the web site of the Lone Tree Literary Soceity.
"I am not a regional writer, but the characteristics of this region have conditioned what I see, what I look for, and what I find in the world to write about."

The Rock

Nebraska Center for Writers