John Williams


John Williams (1922-1994) was born and raised in northeast Texas. Despite a talent for writing and acting, Williams flunked out of a local junior college after his first year. He reluctantly joined the war effort, enlisting in the Army Air Corps, and managing to write a draft of his first novel while there. Once home, Williams found a small publisher for the novel and enrolled at the University of Denver, where he was eventually to receive both his B.A. and M.A., and where he was to return as an instructor in 1954. Williams remained on the staff of the creative writing program at the University of Denver until his retirement in 1985. During these years, he was an active guest lecturer and writer, publishing two volumes of poetry and three novels, Butcher’s Crossing, Stoner, and the National Book Award–winning Augustus.

Books
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    Augustus

    Williams’s biographical treatment of the founder of the Roman Empire won him the National Book Award and reveals him to be as transformative a writer of historical novels as he is of westerns (in Butcher’s Crossing) and the campus drama (in Stoner).

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    Butcher’s Crossing

    The author of Stoner dismantles the myth of the making of the American west in this tale of a Harvard dropout who seeks adventure hunting one of the last great buffalo herds, but ends up losing his innocence.

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    Stoner

    John Williams’s Stoner is something rarer than a great novel — it is a perfect novel, so well told and beautifully written, so deeply moving, that it takes your breath away. — Morris Dickstein, The New York Times Book Review