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Born in El Dorado in 1933, he graduated from high school in Hamburg. After serving in the United States Marine Corps, he enrolled in the University of Arkansas, writing for the student newspaper as well as the Northwest Arkansas Times before graduating with a degree in journalism.

His fluid writing style caught the attention of the Arkansas Gazette's editor, who hired him as a general assignment reporter. While at the Gazette, he gained recognition as the writer of the popular "Our Town" column. The New York Herald Tribune took notice, offering him a job as its London bureau chief.

While in England, he decided he wanted to write novels, which resulted in his departure from London and the Herald Tribune. In 1964, he returned to Arkansas, where he bought a small cabin and focused on writing.

His first novel received only modest praise. His second, however, originally published in serial format in the Saturday Evening Post, was a commercial success and not only became a best-seller but was adapted for film twice, providing John Wayne with his only Academy Award. True Grit is considered an American literature classic, still widely taught in high school English classes today.

Who was this talented Arkansan writer, who recently died from complications of Alzheimer's disease, who wrote the enduring novel about a 14-year-old girl from Yell County, on a mission "to avenge her father's blood"?


Style on 03/22/2020



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