Goodwin, Stephen 1943-

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Goodwin, Stephen 1943-


Born October 20, 1943, in PA; son of Claudius Lee and Jeannette Goodwin; married Lucia Stanton, June 16, 1964 (divorced, 1977); children: Eliza. Education: Harvard University, A.B., 1965; University of Virginia, M.A., 1969.


Home—Washington, DC. Office—Department of English, George Mason University, Robinson A 487, 440 University Dr., MSN 3E4, Fairfax, VA 22030. E-mail—[email protected]


Washington and Lee University, Lexington, VA., instructor in English, 1969-73; Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA., assistant professor of English, 1973-78; University of Virginia, Charlottesville, lecturer, 1978-79; George Mason University, Fairfax, VA., 1979—, began as associate professor, became professor of English. National Endowment for the Arts, director of literature program; cofounder of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation, twice president. Military service: U.S. Army, 1966-68.


Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Ingram Merrill Foundation, and Guggenheim Foundation.


Kin (novel), Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1975.

The Blood of Paradise (novel), Dutton (New York, NY), 1979, University of Virginia Press (Charlottesville, VA), 2000.

The Greatest Masters: The 1986 Masters & Golf's Elite, Harper & Row (New York, NY), 1988.

Breaking Her Fall (novel), Harcourt (Orlando, FL), 2003.

Dream Golf: The Making of Bandon Dunes, Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill (Chapel Hill, NC), 2006.

Contributor of short fiction to periodicals and literary journals, including Shenandoah, Sewanee Review, Georgia Review, and Gentleman's Quarterly; contributor of nonfiction and reviews to periodicals, including Country Journal, Golf, New Republic, Fly Fisherman, and the Washington Post.


Stephen Goodwin is a professor of English who also enjoys a career as a successful author. The Blood of Paradise is "a scrupulous, poignant novel—the work of an apprentice to the trade, but a very skilled one," according to James Atlas writing of the early novel in the New York Times.

Both Julian Moynahan in New York Times Book Review and Anne Tyler in Washington Post Book World noted that Goodwin's growth as a novelist becomes evident when a comparison between The Blood of Paradise and Kin, his first novel, is made. Moynahan wrote that The Blood of Paradise "has a much richer physical ambience and more forlorn sense of human possibility." Tyler stated: "The Blood of Paradise … will strike Goodwin-watchers as a kind of flowering. It's not merely a step forward; it's a leap—a book that seems laden, rich, powerful."

While Atlas described Kin, Goodwin's novel of a Southern white who brings a black fellow soldier home for a visit, as a "gothic tale of rural violence, racism, and suicide," the reviewer commented: "The Blood of Paradise has a more substantial subject: men and women in conflict." Atlas saw flaws in both the plot and the characters presented in The Blood of Paradise, but believed that Goodwin's superior writing ability makes the novel a success. After describing the book's plot and characters, Atlas continued: "How … does the author salvage this rather unpromising material? Simply by writing well…. He has mastered an austere voice that encompasses passion; so many scenes in the novel shine forth with a restrained, but deeply felt emotion."

A Chicago Tribune Book World review written by Charles Larson summed up the critical response to The Blood of Paradise. Larson commented: "When a rare novel like Stephen Goodwin's The Blood of Paradise comes along, one feels like shouting out the news or banging a drum—anything to drown out the din announcing the lesser rivals…. This is a superbly rewarding novel."

Breaking Her Fall is set in the late 1990s and is the story of a parental nightmare. Tucker Jones is a stable single father, devoted to his twelve-year-old son, Will, and fourteen-year-old daughter, Kat. Tucker responds to a phone call from another parent who tells him that Kat is at an out-of-control party at a pool house at which she has become involved with drinking and sexual acts. He goes to the party in search of Kat, but as events unfold, Tucker's anger leads to felony assault charges when one of the boys loses an eye. The boy's father files a lawsuit which could destroy Tucker's career and family. The story poignantly presents the relationship between the depressed Kat and Tucker, who is surviving a bitter divorce and who yearns for love for himself. Booklist reviewer Joanne Wilkinson described Breaking Her Fall as being "a layered, compassionate, extraordinarily graceful novel."

Goodwin has written two books about the game of golf, including Dream Golf: The Making of Bandon Dunes. The book is a primer on golf course architecture and a history of the creation of a course on the Oregon coast that opened in 1999. Mike Kaiser, the founder of Recycled Paper Greetings, an environmentally friendly greeting card company, put up the more than two million dollars to build Bandon Dunes in a remote area five hours from Portland and even further from San Francisco. Kaiser funded three different courses, each with its own level of difficulty, on the rugged terrain that reminded him of Ireland and Scotland. Booklist contributor Bill Ott noted that Goodwin feels that "in Bandon Dunes, Keiser found something "commensurate to his capacity for wonder.'" A Publishers Weekly reviewer concluded: "Goodwin's lively writing and clear descriptions make for an apt chronicle for golf fans of the making of Bandon Dunes."



Booklist, July, 2003, Joanne Wilkinson, review of Breaking Her Fall, p. 1864; March 15, 2006, Bill Ott, review of Dream Golf: The Making of Bandon Dunes, p. 15.

Chicago Tribune Book World, June 17, 1979, Charles Larson, review of The Blood of Paradise.

Kirkus Reviews, July 1, 2003, review of Breaking Her Fall, p. 875.

Library Journal, August, 2003, Beth E. Andersen, review of Breaking Her Fall, p. 130.

New York Times, May 14, 1979, James Atlas, review of The Blood of Paradise.

New York Times Book Review, June 24, 1979, Julian Moynahan, review of The Blood of Paradise.

Publishers Weekly, June 30, 2003, review of Breaking Her Fall, p. 52; March 6, 2006, review of Dream Golf, p. 61.

Washington Post Book World, May 27, 1979, Ann Tyler, review of The Blood of Paradise.

ONLINE, (January 25, 2006), "Feature Interview with Stephen Goodwin."

Harcourt Trade Publishers Web site, (January 25, 2007), "Interview with Stephen Goodwin."

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Goodwin, Stephen 1943-

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