"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." -- Reynolds Price
Reynolds Price (born February 1, 1933, as Edward Reynolds Price) is an American novelist, poet, dramatist, essayist and James B. Duke Professor of English at Duke University. Apart from English literature, Price has had a lifelong interest in ancient languages and Biblical scholarship. He is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
"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.""I think we Southerners have talked a fair amount of malarkey about the mystique of being Southern.""The older I've got the less I find myself going back and re-reading or really reading new fiction or poetry."
Price was born in Macon, North Carolina, and, after attending public schools of his native state, went to Duke University, where he graduated summa cum laude in 1955. Afterwards he went to Merton College, Oxford for three years as a Rhodes Scholar and wrote a book about life at Oxford, called 'The Source of Light'. After his return in 1958, he started teaching at Duke University, which he has been doing ever since. His first short stories were published in Duke's student literary periodical, Archive. Eudora Welty also helped Price get his first couple of books published; she sent one of his early stories, "Michael Egerton" to her own publisher, but Price's first book was not a collection of stories; it was a novel entitled A Long and Happy Life. His other books include his memoir Clear Pictures, and his novels The Tongues of Angels, Blue Calhoun, Kate Vaiden, Roxanna Slade and The Great Circle. The recent The Good Priest's Son is an account of a 9/11 experience.
Price is a Southern writer. All his books are set in the South and more particularly in his native North Carolina. Price once replied when asked why he chose to remain in North Carolina: "It's the place about which I have perfect pitch." Price has cited Southern writer Eudora Welty as one of his early influences. He has also been noted for his sexually frank writing, and the ambiguous nature of his own sexuality; Price did not write publicly about being gay until his third memoir, Ardent Spirits: Leaving Home, Coming Back, published in 2009. He began teaching at Duke shortly after completing his Rhodes Scholarship in the late 1950s. For more than forty years he has taught a class on Milton, and former students include the writers Josephine Humphreys and Anne Tyler, along with the actress Annabeth Gish.
Price is a favorite author of Bill Clinton, who invited him to dinner at the White House early in his first term. Price wrote the lyrics to two songs by James Taylor: "Copperline" and "New Hymn". Price has received numerous literary honors, including the National Book Critics Circle Award, the William Faulkner Foundation Award, and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for his memoir Clear Pictures (1989). He is also a member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Price's book, Feasting The Heart (2000), is a collection of controversial and personal essays, originally broadcast to great acclaim on National Public Radio's All Things Considered.