James Salter

Sentence by sentence, James Salter’s elegantly natural prose has a precision and clarity which make ordinary words swing wide open.

James Salter was the author of six novels and two short-story collections. Born in 1925, Salter grew up in New York City, graduated from West Point, and served in the U.S. Army Air Force for twelve years; his first novel, The Hunters (1956), drew on his experience as a pilot in the Korean War. Soon after its publication, Salter resigned from the Air Force in order to devote himself wholly to his writing. His other novels include A Sport and a Pastime (1967), a classic of erotic realism, Light Years (1975), and Solo Faces (1979). His subject is human desire in its many forms: longing, jealousy, ambition, the need to triumph, to achieve perfection, to be loved, to belong. All That Is, his final novel, was published in April 2013. It was welcomed by the New York Times as “a work that manages to be both recognizable (no one but Salter could have written it) and yet strikingly original, vigorous proof that this literary lion is still very much on the prowl.”

The call came at seven in the morning. I took a hot bath and let the news sink in, but it really hasn't. I feel immensely fortunate. The idea of giving this amount of money to a writer anywhere in the world who writes in English is simply visionary. JAMES SALTER