Reynolds Price was born in Macon, North Carolina in 1933 and passed away on January 20, 2011. In his early life he also lived in Asheboro, North Carolina. While attending Duke University, he was a student of Eudora Welty, who introduced his writing to her agent. After graduating Duke summa cum laude in 1955, he attended Oxford University in England as a Rhodes scholar to study the works of John Milton. His first novel A Long and Happy Life was published in 1962. The novel, set in his home of eastern North Carolina, was praised for its Southern voice and solidified Price’s emergence as the best Southern writer of his generation. It also received the William Faulkner Award for notable first novel. His more than 40 novels, plays and collections of short stories and poetry have won numerous awards. Kate Vaiden, completed in 1986, won the National Book Critics Circle prize for the year’s best work of fiction. His 1994 memoir, A Whole New Life, details his struggle with spinal cancer that left him partially paralyzed and confined to a wheelchair. Price was a James B. Duke Professor of English at Duke University for more than 50 years during which he received the University Medal for Distinguished Meritorious Service, the university’s highest honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award and a professorship in creative writing was established in his name in 2008.
New York Times article about his career, life, and death.
In His Own Words
“Life is short and often stingy; feast the heart with what it craves, short of cruelty, and let the world wonder.”
“Strength just comes in one brand - you. Stand up at sunrise and meet what they send you and keep your hair combed.”
“Almost all of my really good times have been silent but have had to end.”
“Even now, after whatever gains feminism has made in involving fathers in the rearing of their children, I still think virtually all of us spend the most formative years of our lives very much in the presence of women.”
“From the age of six I wanted to be an artist. At that point I meant a painter, but it turned out what I really meant was I was someone who was very interested in watching the world and making copies of it."
“I think if we are realistic, the South - the old Confederate states - really only has one entirely unique feature that other parts of the country don't have, and that is this nearly 400-year history of tremendous intimacy, in every sense of the word, good and evil, between two very different kinds of peoples: people who were brought here against their wishes from Africa and a largely Anglo-white population.”
“I think we Southerners have talked a fair amount of malarkey about the mystique of being Southern.”
“You have to realize that your work is done by your body, and if your body is in very bad health, it's not going to work for you no matter how young you are. So, I'm a bit of an athletic coach when it comes to trying to respect my body's needs and tendencies, and when I teach students, I try and persuade them of the same.”
"What I still ask for daily - for life as long as I have work to do, and work as long as I have life."