Richard Ford

The Board of Trustees of The Kenyon Review is pleased to honor Richard Ford as the 2008 recipient of the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Achievement. Ford, one of the most widely read and influential authors in contemporary literature, is the author of such acclaimed novels as The Sportswriter, Rock Springs, and the Pulitzer Prize winning Independence Day. His writing is intensely real—it tackles the small triumphs and indignities of life as it is actually lived.

About Richard Ford

Richard Ford was born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1944. The only child of a traveling salesman for a starch company, Ford was raised in Mississippi and Arkansas. He went to college at Michigan State University, where he met Kristina Hensley, to whom he has been married since 1968. Ford attended law school briefly before entering the University of California at Irvine, where he received his M.F.A. in writing in 1970.

After publishing two novels, A Piece of My Heart (1976) and The Ultimate Good Luck (1981), Ford took a job writing for Inside Sports magazine. When the magazine was sold, he decided to write a book about a sportswriter; the resulting novel, published in 1986, received widespread acclaim: it was named one of five best books of 1986 by Time magazine. The Sportswriter was followed by Rock Springs (1987), a highly praised book of short stories, and in 1990 by a novel set in Great Falls, Montana, called Wildlife. His previous novel, Independence Day, was the first novel ever to win both the Pulitzer Prize and the PEN/Faulkner Award for fiction.

In addition to his steady production of fiction, Ford has also taught writing and literature at the University of Michigan, at Princeton University, and at Williams College.

Ford lives in New Orleans, Louisiana, where his wife, Kristina, is the head of the city planning commission. He travels frequently and also spends time on a plantation in the Mississippi Delta and at his cabin in Chinook, Montana.

Photo of Richard Ford by John Foley, Opale.

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