Charles Baxter (born 13 May 1947) is an American author of fiction, nonfiction and poetry. His writing has been compared to that of Anton Chekhov, William Trevor, Alice Munro, and John Cheever. He is Edelstein-Keller Professor in Creative Writing at the University of Minnesota, and professor at the Warren Wilson College MFA Program for Writers.
Baxter was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, to John and Mary Barber (Eaton) Baxter. He graduated from Macalester College in Saint Paul, and taught high school in Pinconning, Michigan, for a year. In 1974 he received his Ph.D. in English from the University at Buffalo with a thesis on Djuna Barnes, Malcolm Lowry, and Nathanael West.
He began his university teaching career at Wayne State University in Detroit. He then moved to the University of Michigan, where for many years he directed the Creative Writing MFA program. Many of his students have gone on to successful writing careers; they include Gretchen Mazur, Helen Fremont, Michael Byers, Jardine Libaire, Porter Shreve, Davy Rothbart, John Fulton, Marc Nesbitt, Patrick O'Keeffe, Jess Row, Francesca Delbano, Peter Orner, Heidi Julavits, Karl Iagnemma, Achy Obejas and Elwood Reid.
His novel Feast of Love was adapted for the screen in 2007.
First Light Viking, 1987, ISBN 9780670817016. An eminent astrophysicist and her brother, a small-town Buick salesman, discover how they grew so far apart and the bonds of love that still keep them together.
. As his wife does gymnastics and magic tricks, his crazy mother invents her own vocabulary, and his aunt writes her own version of the Bible, Five Oaks Assistant City Manager Wyatt Palmer tries to live a normal life and nearly succeeds, but...
, a sumptuously reimagined Midsummer Night's Dream, a story told through the eyes of several different people, comic, poignant, and sexy by turns. Nominated for the National Book Award. A motion-picture version of the book, starring Morgan Freeman, Fred Ward and Greg Kinnear and directed by Robert Benton, was released on September 27, 2007.
. A teacher's marriage and identity are threatened by a dangerously obsessed teenage boy at his school.
Short story and essay collections
Harmony of the World (1984). Winner of the Associated Writing Programs Award.
Through The Safety Net (1985)
Believers, Pantheon Books, 1997, ISBN 9780679442677
Burning Down The House: Essays on Fiction, Graywolf Press, 1997, ISBN 9781555972561
The Art of Subtext: Beyond Plot (2007). Winner of the 2008 Minnesota Book Award for General Non-fiction.