Thomas M. Disch Biography

Biography (Literary Essentials: Short Fiction Masterpieces)

Thomas Michael Disch was born in Des Moines, Iowa, the son of Felix Henry and Helen (Gilbertson) Disch. He went to Cooper Union and New York University but never graduated. After working in an advertising agency and a bank, he started writing full time in the mid-1960’s. His travels in England, Turkey, Italy, and Mexico provided settings for some of his stories. Disch has worked with Charles Naylor, his longtime companion, on various anthologies and the novel Neighboring Lives (1981). He also collaborated with John Sladek on Black Alice (1968), a thriller about a kidnapping in the South, and a gothic romance published under the pseudonym Cassandra Knye. Disch was a theater critic for The Nation from 1987 to 1991 and a theater critic for the New York Daily News beginning in 1993. He became artist-in-residence at the College of William and Mary in 1996. Disch died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on July 5, 2008 in his apartment in New York City.