Larry Alfred Woiwode was born in Carrington, North Dakota, on October 30, 1941, and spent his early years in nearby Sykeston, a predominantly German settlement amid the rugged, often forbidding north-midwestern terrain. No doubt the beauty as well as the stark loneliness of this landscape heightened the author’s appreciation for the effect of nature upon individual character. At the age of ten, he moved with his family to Manito, Illinois, another evocatively midwestern environment capable of nurturing the descriptive powers of a budding fiction writer.
He attended the University of Illinois for five years but failed to complete a bachelor’s degree, leaving the university in 1964 with an associate of arts degree in rhetoric. He met his future wife, Carol Ann Patterson, during this period and married her on May 21, 1965. After leaving Illinois, Woiwode moved to New York City and supported his family with freelance writing, publishing in The New Yorker and other prestigious periodicals while working on two novels.
During his career, Woiwode has been known primarily for his longer fiction, but he has frequently published short stories in such prominent literary periodicals as The Atlantic Monthly and The New Yorker, and he published a well-received collection of poems, Even Tide, in 1977. Several of his short stories have been chosen for anthologies of the year’s best. Woiwode’s first novel, What I’m Going to Do, I Think, won for him the prestigious William Faulkner Foundation Award for the “most notable first novel” of 1969 and brought him immediate critical attention. It reached the best-seller list...
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