Drennen, William M., Jr. 1942-

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Drennen, William M., Jr. 1942-
(Bill Drennen, William Miller Drennen, Jr.)


Born November 5, 1942, in Charleston, WV; son of William Miller (a tax court judge) and Margaret (a real estate developer of golf courses) Drennen; married Sarah Polk Wilson (a teacher of Spanish), November 27, 1969; children: Zachary Polk, Samuel Boyd. Ethnicity: "Caucasian." Education: Yale University, B.A., 1964; West Virginia University, M.A.; also attended George Washington University. Politics: Democrat. Religion: Episcopalian.


Home and office—Shepherdstown, WV. E-mail[email protected].


Comcorps, Inc. (film producer), Washington, DC, vice president, 1969-78; Briar Mountain Coal and Coke Co., Charleston, WV, president, 1979-89; State of West Virginia, Charleston, commissioner of culture and history, 1989-97; West Virginia State University, Institute, instructor in history, 1997-2001; Greg Didden Real Estate, Shepherdstown, WV, owner and agent, 2002—. Minister of Universal Life Church, 1969—; Aerial Image, producer and director of films and videos, 1978—; Home Hill Corp., project director, 2001—. West Virginia Youth Soccer Association, founder and president, 1978-88; West Virginia International Film Festival, founder and president, 1985-88; Contemporary American Theater Festival, board member. Military service: U.S. Navy, 1964-67; served in Vietnam; became lieutenant; received Bronze Star with combat "V".


Jefferson County Historical Society (president).


One Kanawha Valley Bank, Aerial Image (Charleston, WV), 2000.

(With Kojo Jones, Jr.) Red, White, Black, and Blue: A Dual Memoir of Race and Class in Appalachia, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 2004.


William M. Drennen, Jr., told CA: "I have always been fascinated by stories, but also frightened by the power of the written word to evolve strange and awesome situations and environments. I was always told I was a good writer, but impressed in high school by the keen problem-solving mental capacities of my engineer grandfather, I decided to pursue a career as an architect. My studies were interrupted by naval service in the Vietnam War, and when I returned I found myself unable (or unwilling) to sit behind a drafting table for another four years. One night in a hotel room in Cannes, France (on my Grand Tour) I was inspired to write a screenplay. I was so pleased with myself that I decided a film career was for me, and I went to Rome and began working on the fringes of the 'spaghetti western' genre. After ten years I took off for six months and wrote the first draft of a novel called Winter Falls, a coming-of-age story set in the sixties. Then I went back to work in coal, oil and gas, and real estate, always believing one day I would be a full-time writer. Not until twenty-five years later, after several other careers, did I finally get my first book published. The point is: just do it!"



Drennen, William M., Jr., and Kojo Jones, Jr., Red, White, Black, and Blue: A Dual Memoir of Race and Class in Appalachia, Ohio University Press (Athens, OH), 2004.


Choice, September, 2004, A.A. Sio, review of Red, White, Black, and Blue, p. 194.

Reference & Research Book News, May, 2004, review of Red, White, Black, and Blue, p. 65.