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Blake Bailey

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Mary Brinkmeyer


Blake Bailey

United States

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July 1, 1963 Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States (

University of New Orleans (1998)

Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts, US & Canada, National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography

Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography

The Splendid Things W, Cheever: A Life, A Tragic Honesty: The Life a, Farther and Wilder: The Lost Wee, Edge of the Cave

Similar People
John Cheever, Charles R Jackson, Richard Yates, Philip Roth

Author Talk - Blake Bailey

Blake Bailey (born July 1, 1963 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) is an American writer. Bailey is widely known for his literary biographies of John Cheever, Richard Yates, and Charles Jackson. He is the editor of the Library of America omnibus editions of Cheever's stories and novels.


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Bailey grew up in Oklahoma City and attended high school at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School, where he was friends with another future author, Dan Fagin. He went to college at Tulane University, from which he graduated in 1985.

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He is married to Mary Brinkmeyer, a psychologist at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth. Together they have a daughter. Bailey is a tennis enthusiast.

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Bailey and his family lost their house and most of their possessions in Hurricane Katrina, an experience he wrote about in a series of articles for Slate.

He is currently the Mina Hohenberg Darden Professor of Creative Writing at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.


After college, Bailey wrote occasional free-lance pieces and taught gifted eighth-graders at a magnet school in New Orleans. After publishing a long critical profile of Richard Yates, Bailey contracted to write a full-length biography of the novelist, A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates (2003).

In 2005, Bailey was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship to work on his biography, Cheever: A Life, which won the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award among other honors. Bailey also edited a two-volume edition of Cheever's work for the Library of America.

In an interview with the New York Times published on November 17, 2012, Philip Roth said that Bailey was his official biographer and at work on that project.

Recently Bailey published his biography of the novelist Charles Jackson, Farther & Wilder: The Lost Weekends and Literary Dreams of Charles Jackson, as well as a memoir, The Splendid Things We Planned: A Family Portrait.

Awards and honors

  • 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award finalist for A Tragic Honesty: The Life and Work of Richard Yates
  • 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship for Cheever: A Life
  • 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award winner for Cheever: A Life
  • 2009 Francis Parkman Prize winner for Cheever: A Life
  • 2009 Pulitzer Prize finalist for Cheever: A Life
  • 2009 James Tait Black Memorial Prize finalist for Cheever: A Life
  • 2010 Academy Award in Literature given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters
  • 2014 National Book Critics Circle Award (Autobiography) finalist for The Splendid Things We Planned
  • References

    Blake Bailey Wikipedia

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