Hollingsworth, A(lan) B. 1949-
HOLLINGSWORTH, A(lan) B. 1949-
PERSONAL: Born September 28, 1949, in El Reno, OK; son of F. W. (a general practitioner of medicine) and Almarian (a medical technologist and college creative writing instructor; maiden name, Berch) Hollingsworth; married Cynthia Williams, December 18, 1971 (divorced, 1981); married Barbara Greene (a teacher), November 2, 1991; stepchildren: Susannah Wells BeBee, Emily Wells. Education: University of Oklahoma, B.A. (with distinction), M.D. (with distinction). Religion: Protestant Hobbies and other interests: "Trying to read through all my leather-bound classics before I die."
CAREER: University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, resident in general surgery; University of California, Los Angeles, fellow in surgical pathology, 1977; private practice of general surgery, Marina del Rey, CA, 1980-89; breast cancer surgeon in Oklahoma City, OK, 1989—. University of Oklahoma, founding medical director of Institute for Breast Health, 1989-99, and G. Rainey Williams Professor of Surgical Breast Oncology, 1998-99; Mercy Women's Center, medical director, 1999—; Breast MRI of Oklahoma, medical director, 1999—. National Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Working Group, member.
MEMBER: American College of Surgeons, American Society for the Study of Breast Disease, Oklahoma City Surgical Society (past president), Honor Medical Society, Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Omega Alpha.
AWARDS, HONORS: Aesculapian award,,University of Oklahoma College of Medicine; two-time finalist, Oklahoma Book of the Year award, for Flatbellies: It's Not about Golf, It's about Life and University Boulevard.
The Truth about Breast Cancer Risk Assessment, National Writers Press (Aurora, CO), 2000.
Flatbellies: It's Not about Golf, It's about Life (fiction), Sleeping Bear Press (Chelsea, MI), 2001.
University Boulevard (fiction), Clock Tower Press (Ann Arbor, MI), 2003.
Contributor to medical journals.
WORK IN PROGRESS: Nutshell, a novel about "a medical student intent on becoming a psychiatrist who chooses instead a self-destructive path in surgery, his experiences being mirrored in two worlds: a medical school and an insane asylum," completion expected in 2006; research with biotechnical companies working to develop a screening blood test for detecting early breast cancer.
SIDELIGHTS: A. B. Hollingsworth told CA: "Early on, my motivation for writing came from my teenage obsession with John Steinbeck, no doubt nurtured by the fact that he was unofficially blacklisted in my home state of Oklahoma due to Grapes of Wrath. I was caught up, not only by his use of the language, but also by the fact that he portrayed 'Okies' as honorable survivors in a hostile world. At age sixteen, I saw Okies as the heroes of the book, and [the blacklisting] raised huge questions (as it did for Steinbeck) as to why so many Oklahomans would consider Grapes of Wrath an insult. So, at a young age, I began to question the wisdom of adults.
"The more I became entrenched in medical training, the more I wanted to write. In the middle of a surgical pathology fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1977, I wrote a novel that I thought would establish a new genre—a medical thriller. St. Martin's Press thought the same, as my un-agented book went from the slush pile to senior editor Hope Dellon. However, Robin Cook's similar story (Coma) took off that same year and left me as an also-ran. I worked with St. Martin's Press for about five years, trying to change my book from Coma, before my novel was finally rejected.
"By then, I was trying to establish my surgery practice in Los Angeles and had very little time to write. Instead, I made the mistake of trying to market my dead novel at writers' conferences when I should have been writing a new book. The delay was good for me as a writer. Broken dreams and tragedies have a way of adding substance to writing, and when I decided to attempt another novel in the early 1990s, my focus was character-based, rather than the plot-based approach of my medical thriller. Flatbellies: It's Not about Golf, It's about Life was intended as mainstream fiction, but was often labeled a 'golf novel,' especially since the hardcover edition was by a sports publisher. This tag was further cemented when a panel of sportswriters named Flatbellies as one of the 'top ten golf books of all time.' (And I don't even play golf!) "My goal in writing is to encourage thoughtfulness and self-reflection through good stories, using imaginative language. In Flatbellies and University Boulevard, my friends and relatives know me as the character Chipper. I think my writing has a style that leads readers to think I'm simply describing actual events, whereas both books are highly fictionalized memoirs. But every fiction author knows that you inject yourself into all characters. For me, my alter-ego (or perhaps my primary ego) is the totally fictional character Smokey Ray Divine, a hippie-guru who wants to devote his life to 'fog-lifting' for others. The same 'fog' that blinded so many Okies to John Steinbeck's wonderful tribute is what I'm trying to lift through my novels."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Publishers Weekly, March 24, 2003, review of Flatbellies: It's Not about Golf, It's about Life, p. 59.