Kent Haruf biography

Author Biography  | Interview  | Books by this Author  | Readalikes

Kent Haruf
© Cathy Haruf

Kent Haruf

How to pronounce Kent Haruf: Rhymes with sheriff

Kent Haruf Biography

Kent Haruf’s honors include a Whiting Foundation Award and a special citation from the PEN/Hemingway Foundation. His 1999 novel, Plainsong, won the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the New Yorker Book Award; and Benediction (2013) was on the shortlist for the 2014 Folio Prize.

He lived with his wife, Cathy, in his native Colorado until his death in November 2014 at the age of 71. His last novel, Our Souls at Night, published in May 2015. Gary Fisketjon, his editor at Knopf, said "Kent had finished all his revisions and even gone through the copy editing."



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Interview

Kent Haruf discusses Plainsong.

This is from your frontispiece: Plainsong--the unisonous vocal music used in the Christian church from the earliest times; any simple and unadorned melody or air.

There's an obvious pun that this is kind of a song or an emblem for the Plains or an anthem for the Plains. Sung in a plain style. These are regular, ordinary sort of elemental characters and I think they're presented sort of directly and I wanted the prose to be kind of simple and direct.

Even without elaboration the characters are very strong. They are people we come to know and care about and the pages turn that way. In the shifting source of narrative from chapter to chapter I didn't want to let go of the storyline I'd just been in but I was very happy to get back and find out what's going on elsewhere.

Well, I had some misgivings about whether or not that form would put off readers. It was the only thing I could think of doing regarding these characters and how to tell their stories. In a way, the Plains have no excess. If you think of places where it is rich in vegetation, it seems like there is so much of it that you almost get lost in it. In the Plains, things are stripped down to the essentials and that...

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Books by this Author

Books by Kent Haruf at BookBrowse
Our Souls at Night jacket Benediction jacket Eventide jacket Plainsong jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Kent Haruf but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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  • Ellen   Cooney

    Ellen Cooney

    Ellen Cooney is the author of nine previous novels, including The Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Chances. Her stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Ontario Review, New England Review, and many other journals,... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Our Souls at Night

    Try:
    One Night Two Souls Went Walking
    by Ellen Cooney

  • James Anderson

    James Anderson

    James Anderson grew up in the Pacific Northwest. He is a graduate of Reed College, and received his MFA in creative writing from Pine Manor College. His short fiction, poetry, essays, and reviews have appeared in many ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Eventide

    Try:
    The Never-Open Desert Diner
    by James Anderson

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