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In Their Own Country logo In Their Own Country text in English Vivace font
Winner of the national Gabriel Award for programs that uplift the human spirit.

Entertaining visits with fourteen of West Virginia’s most celebrated writers.  

Davis Grubb

After Night of the Hunter, his first novel, was made into a movie, Davis Grubb became a national literary celebrity. His dark, absorbing stories often involve innocents and children battling danger and dangerous adults. Conversely, his children are sometimes the villains. We hear his voice, thanks to the WV Library Commission.

Sample scenes from readings:  a murderer posing as a preacher chases two children through the night ... an enchanting scene of two children playing on a wrecked steamboat ... a corrupt head guard takes his opportunity to hassle three convicts about to be released

Personal Born 1919 and raised in Moundsville, where his family had lived for over 200 years.  Began writing age 7.   Died 1980 in New York. 

Publications:  The Night of the Hunter Harper 1953, A Dream of Kings Scribner, 1955, The Watchman Scribner 1961, The Voices of Glory Scribner 1962, Twelve Tales of Suspense and the Supernatural Scribner 1964, A Tree Full of Stars Scribner 1965, Shadow of My Brother Holt 1966, The Golden Sickle World Publishing 1968, Fools' Parade World Publishing 1969, The Barefoot Man Simon & Schuster 1971, The Siege of 318 Black Forest Press 1979, Ancient Lights Viking 1982.  Short stories published widely; e.g., Collier's, Cosmopolitan, Woman's Home Companion, Charm, Holiday.  

Education and Career Carnegie Institution of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University) where he worked his way by sorting stuffed Guatemalan humming birds in the ornithology lab.  Abandoned art career because color blind.  Specializations:  Elizabethan and French Renaissance poetry, Irish and Welsh poets, William Blake, mythology.  Novelist and short story writer.

AwardsThe Night of the Hunter and Fools' Parade made into movies.

Reviewers' Comments:  
"First of all, Mr. Grubb makes this [The Night of the Hunter] a fast-paced, technically admirable tale.  Second, he has done this without sacrificing quality.  He is a good writer--a very good one indeed--and that fact sticks out all over his book."  (San Francisco Chronicle)  
"Mr. Grubb--is second to none in this [Ancient Lights] epic, mind-altering, sexalicious, hedonistic, sensory freefall...a full-fledged miracle of a book, it examines everything in the known world as being connected to this amazing, potent and ridiculous dance we are doing on this spinning ball."  (Lisa Barker)  

-"Dickensonian in his ability to recreate the true, gritty atmosphere of a scene, a place, and in his equal ability to turn ordinary people into portentous figures, larger than life but not less for being so--.Acknowledged talents for creating entirely believable characters and giving them a language and turn-of-phrase all their own--deep and fluently expressed understanding of sensuality.  Few writers since D.H.Lawrence have shown the life-giving power of love as Grubb does."  (From blurbs on The Barefoot Man)  

Excerpts from In Their Own Country (Grubb's voice courtesy of the West Virginia State Library Commission):

Grubb: A young writer once came to me years ago and said, "Why write anything? It's all been said."  And I said, "Yes, but not by you." And I think unless you believe in the sacred individuality of everyone, then you don't believe in writing at all. Because no metaphor can have any real meaning unless, having originated in the mind of the poet, it finds soil to make its resurrection in the mind of somebody else.

Tom Douglass (Grubb's biographer): Every day you don't create something is a sin, he said. That's what sin is. Doing nothing. Or traveling along day after day in the same old rut, not feeling anything, not seeing anything. That's a sin.

Tom: I can't remember when it first was that I said to myself, when I looked in a mirror over the washbasin, which was about to here on me, "You are a writer." I can't imagine ever not having been a writer. I wasn't a prodigy in any sense. I was, to all intents and purposes, a very stupid, mischievous, rather sad child. I made horrible grades in school, the worst. to the disappointment of my father and mother both. I'd come home with my report card just bristling with Fs or Ds.

Don't ever underestimate the value, the real estate value of the human imagination. I can change this landscape in my mind into words on paper, and I make a pretty good living at it, and I get a great feeling from it too.
The real estate in my mind, the Moundsville in my mind, can never be penetrated by any interstate. The landmarks cannot be demolished. The real estate cannot be bartered or sold or prostituted in any way.

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Last modified: 09/16/08