Conroy, Frank 1936–2005

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Conroy, Frank 1936–2005

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born January 15, 1936, in New York, NY; died April 6, 2005, in Iowa City, IA. Educator and author. Conroy was a respected author who was most recently a well-known figure as the director of the Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa. Although not a prolific author, possibly because he was just as critical of his own work as he was demanding of his students', Conroy's first book, the autobiography Stop-Time (1967), was nominated for the National Book Award. He was a graduate of Haverford College, where he earned a B.A. in 1958. By then, he had already sold his first short story, but further publication came slowly. Moving to New York City, he became a fixture at the literary cafe Elaine's. Despite his love of the literary scene, his progress as an author was slow, and even after the success of Stop-Time Conroy endured long dry spells. To support himself, he wrote magazine articles and played jazz piano. His situation improved when he found work as a teacher, and during the 1970s and 1980s he taught at such institutions as American University, George Mason University, Brandeis University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology; from 1982 until 1987 he also directed the literature program at the National Endowment for the Arts. His next major work finally saw publication in 1985: the short-story collection Midair. Two years later, with only two books to his credit but a strong teaching resume, he was hired to direct Iowa's prestigious workshop. Conroy proved himself the right choice for the job, and he gained a reputation as an extremely tough but talented teacher who was sympathetic to his students. He remained at Iowa until February 2005, when cancer forced him to retire. His more recent books include Body & Soul (1994), Dogs Bark, but the Caravan Rolls On: Observations (2002), and Time and Tide: A Walk through Nantucket (2004).



Chicago Tribune, April 7, 2005, section 3, p. 9.

Los Angeles Times, April 8, 2005, p. B11.

New York Times, April 7, 2005, p. A24.

Washington Post, April 7, 2005, p. B7.