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(1950 - ) American novelist, winner of the National Book Award for his debut (and only, to date) novel, Cold Mountain. BA from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 1973; Ph.D from University of South Carolina, 1986.

Frazier's instant success as a novelist is amazing. He spent six or seven years writing the novel, wbich features a protagonist based on his great great uncle. There's no question that the book is worthy of the award, and there's some great sports metaphor here, like training by yourself as a runner for six years, and winning the Olympic gold as your first competition.

From randomhouse.com:

Q: It seems almost incredible that Cold Mountain is your first novel. Have you ever tried writing fiction before--short stories, or incomplete unpublished novels?

A: Like a lot of people, I tried to write some fiction when I was in my twenties--college age, just after that. It didn't work out so well. I wasn't happy with what I did; it was sort of pretentious and technically pretty weak. So I put that idea away and decided that I was going to be an academic and that I would study other people's writing rather than write myself. But when I got to be forty, I started wanting to write again for some reason, and found when I began doing it that what I was doing was very different from what I had done when I was twenty-five. I liked it better and was happier doing it, and it seemed to me to be worth doing, suddenly. I think as you get older you get a sense of what is important in life and what is significant enough to write about.

Sources:www.salon.com; http://www.randomhouse.com/vintage/read/coldmountain; http://www.cstone.net/~harris1/coldmountain/frazier.html; www.randomhouse.com

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