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Writer John Knowles (September 16, 1926-November 29, 2001) was born in Fairmont. He attained literary fame in 1959 with his first novel, A Separate Peace. The book was inspired by his war-years experience at a private school, Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire. Knowles later attended Yale University.

A coming-of-age novel often compared to J. D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Knowles’s first book continues to be widely read and has achieved the status of a modern classic. A Separate Peace was nominated for the National Book Award and earned its author a Rosenthal Award and the William Faulkner Award for best first novel. Knowles’s other published works include Morning in Antibes (1962), Double Vision: American Thoughts Abroad (1964), Indian Summer (1966), Phineas: Six Stories (1969), Paragon (1971), Spreading Fires (1974), A Vein of Riches (1978), Peace Breaks Out (1981), and The Private Life of Axie Reed (1986). A Vein of Riches, set in and around ‘‘Middleburg,’’ apparently a fictional Fairmont, was Knowles’s notable use of a West Virginia coal country setting for his fiction.

John Knowles died in Florida.

This Article was written by Gordon Simmons

Last Revised on December 07, 2015

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Sources

Brenni, Vito J. West Virginia Authors: A Bibliography 2nd ed., rev. by Joyce Binder. Morgantown: West Virginia University Library, 1968.

Bryant, H. B. A Separate Peace: The War Within. Boston: Twayne Pub., 1990.

Cite This Article

Simmons, Gordon "John Knowles." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 07 December 2015. Web. 22 June 2018.

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