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Blevins, Winfred 1938–

Blevins, Winfred 1938–

(Win Blevins, Winfred Ernest Blevins, Jr.)

PERSONAL: Born October 21, 1938, in Little Rock, AR; son of Winfred Ernest (an electrical engineer) and Hazel Blevins; married Patricia Ann Adams, August 20, 1959 (divorced, 1964); married Martha Gene Stearn, May 26, 1978 (marriage ended); married; wife's name Meredith; children: (first marriage) Pamela Jo, Adam. Education: Hannibal-LaGrange Junior College, A.A., 1958; University of Missouri, A.B. (with honors), 1960; Columbia University, A.M. (with honors), 1962; further graduate study at University of Wisconsin, 1961–62, and Purdue University, 1964–66; University of Southern California, certificate in music criticism, 1967. Hobbies and other interests: Music, hiking, traveling in the West.

ADDRESSES: Home—Malibu, CA. Agent—Nat Sobel, Sobel Weber Associates, Inc., 146 E. 19th St., New York, NY 10003-2404.

CAREER: Franklin College, Franklin, IN, instructor in American literature, 1962–64; Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA, music and stage reviewer, 1967–68; Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Los Angeles, music and stage critic, 1968, entertainment editor, stage critic, and film critic, 1969–72; writer, 1972–.

MEMBER: Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle (charter member, 1968–72, president, 1972).

AWARDS, HONORS: Woodrow Wilson fellowship, 1960–61; Rockefeller Foundation Program for the Training of Music Critics fellow, 1966–68; Stirrup Award, 2000; finalist for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Adult Literature, 2001, for Ravenshadow; named Native Writer of the Year, Wordcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers, 2003; Spur Award, and Mountains and Plains Booksellers Award for Fiction, for Stone Song; Spur Award, 2004, for So Wild a Dream.

WRITINGS:

NONFICTION

Give Your Heart to the Hawks: A Tribute to the Mountain Men, Nash Publishing (Los Angeles, CA), 1973, reprinted, Forge (New York, NY), 2005.

Roadside History of Yellowstone Park, Mountain Press (Missoula, MT), 1989.

(Coauthor) Dictionary of the American West, drawings by Ernest Lisle Reedstrom, Facts on File (New York, NY), 1993, expanded and published as Dictionary of the American West: Over 5,000 Terms and Expressions from Aarigaa! to Zopilote, Sasquatch Books (Seattle, WA), 2001.

(With Thomas Schmidt) History from the Highways: Wyoming, Pruett (Boulder, CO), 1993.

Buffalo, Rio Nuevo Publishers (Tucson, AZ), 2005.

NOVELS

Charbonneau: Man of Two Dreams, Nash Publishing (Los Angeles, CA), 1975, reprinted, Jameson (Ottawa, IL), 1985.

The Misadventures of Silk and Shakespeare, Jameson (Ottawa, IL), 1985.

Also author of four "Rivers West" books, The Powder River, The Yellowstone, The Snake River, and The High Missouri.

NOVELS; UNDER NAME WIN BLEVINS

Stone Song: A Novel of the Life of Crazy Horse, Forge (New York, NY), 1995.

The Rock Child, Forge (New York, NY), 1998.

Ravenshadow, Forge (New York, NY), 1999.

So Wild a Dream, Tom Doherty Associates (New York, NY), 2003.

Beauty for Ashes, Forge (New York, NY), 2004.

Dancing with the Golden Bear, Forge (New York, NY), 2005.

Heaven Is a Long Way Off, Forge (New York, NY), 2006.

OTHER

Also author of introduction to Edward Warren, by William Drummond Stewart, edited by Bart Barbour, Mountain Press (Missoula, MO), 1986. Author of several screenplays. Contributor of poems, stories, articles, and reviews to newspapers and magazines.

SIDELIGHTS: Winfred Blevins once told CA: "I want to take more and more time to fashion simpler, more eloquent, more mythic novels about the American Western experience, and to live long enough to see the best Western writers—Abbey, Bradford, Manfred, Guthrie, Stegner—get the credit they're due." Blevins's Stone Song: A Novel of the Life of Crazy Horse is a "deeply thoughtful and persuasive tribute," praised a Publishers Weekly critic, who further described the novel as a "moving … authentically detailed,… compelling story of a man destined for triumph and betrayal." As a novel, Blevins's history takes liberties unacceptable in traditional histories. Blevins tells "a fascinating, living history that … freely [explores] the deeply spiritual life and culture that motivated His Crazy Horse," stated Bonnie Smothers in a complimentary Booklist review of Stone Song.

Blevins continued to fictionalize the history of the American West with The Rock Child and Ravenshadow, published respectively in 1998 and 1999. The Rock Child is an "unabashedly far-fetched picaresque yarn" successfully supported by "Blevins's unflagging imagination and historical tidbits," appraised a Publishers Weekly critic. In the tale, a Buddhist nun, an Anglo-Native American man, and the British explorer and soldier Sir Richard Burton join forces and meet up with Mark Twain. Drawn in 1862 American West, the story presents the trio's remarkable travels through Salt Lake City, Virginia City, and Lake Tahoe. Mixing "New Age/Buddhist philosophy with familiar Western genre devices," Blevins tries to "deliver a plea for racial tolerance," but, maintained Library Journal contributor Scott H. Silverman, The Rock Child is better seen "as a fugitive-vs.-stalking villain Western yam." Blevins's Ravenshadow tells of Joseph Blue Crow, a reservation-raised, 1950-born Lakota Sioux who trades his Native-American heritage for a mainstream-American Seattle life disconnected from the culture of his childhood. The middle-aged, unhealthy and unhappy Joseph returns to his home and native culture, where he actively observes the historical clash at Wounded Knee between white men and Native Americans, consults a medicine man, and is helped by a vision. "Blevins's bleak tale of a man caught between two cultures lacks the balance and grace of Stone Song, but it presents a solid indictment of how even today the white world oppresses and persecutes Native Americans," concluded a Publishers Weekly reviewer.

In his "Rendezvous" series, which includes So Wild a Dream, Beauty for Ashes, and Dancing with the Golden Bear, Blevins tells the story of Sam Morgan, who leaves Pennsylvania in the 1820s and heads west. So Wild a Dream focuses on Sam's adventures as a riverboat crewman, providing an "entertaining, vivid portrait" of frontier life, according to Wes Lukowsky in Booklist. Sam returns to Pennsylvania, but Beauty for Ashes sees him starting out again, hoping to reunite with Meadowlark, a Native American woman. A Publishers Weekly reviewer rated this a "rousing installment" in Sam's saga, which is "boyishly uncomplicated and vibrant."

Blevins has also published several nonfiction works on the American West, including Dictionary of the American West: Over 5,000 Terms and Expressions from Aairgaa! to Zopilote, an updated edition of his earlier dictionary printed in 1993. This newer reference guide to Western jargon was recommended by Daniel Liestman in Library Journal as "informative and entertaining."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, July, 1995, Bonnie Smothers, review of Stone Song: A Novel of the Life of Crazy Horse, p. 1859; November 1, 2001, Mary Ellen Quinn, review of Dictionary of the American West: Over 5,000 Terms and Expressions from Aairgaa! to Zopilote, p. 512; September 15, 2003, Wes Lukowsky, review of So Wild a Dream, p. 208.

Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2004, review of Beauty for Ashes, p. 757; October 1, 2005, review of Give Your Heart to the Hawks, p. 1058.

Library Journal, June 1, 1995, Joyce Smothers, Stone Song, p. 158; February 1, 1998, Scott H. Silverman, review of The Rock Child, p. 109; September 15, 2001, Daniel Liestman, review of Dictionary of the American West, p. 68; September 1, 2005, Ken St. Andre, review of Dancing with the Golden Bear, p. 127.

Publishers Weekly, May 8, 1995, review of Stone Song, p. 288; November 10, 1997, review of The Rock Child, p. 56; September 27, 1999, review of Ravenshadow, p. 73; October 18, 2004, review of Beauty for Ashes, p. 49.

ONLINE

Winfred Blevins Home Page, http://www.winblevins.com (September 8, 2006).

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