This Goodly Land
William Cobb (October 20, 1937–present)
Other Names Used
- William Sledge Cobb: full name
- Eutaw, Greene County: birthplace
- Demopolis, Marengo County: childhood residence
- Gilbertown, Choctaw County: grandparents' residence, visited there as a child
- Livingston, Sumter County: education
- Montevallo, Shelby County: adult residence
- Cobb, William. Coming of Age at the Y: A Novel. Tuscaloosa: Portals Press, 1984.
- Cobb, William. The Hermit King: A Novel. Tuscaloosa: Portals Press, 1985. Rpt. as The Hermit King and Other Stories. Livingston: Livingston Press at the University of West Alabama, 2005.
- Cobb, William. A Walk Through Fire: A Novel. New York: W. Morrow and Co., 1992. Rpt. Birmingham: Crane Hill Publishers, 2000.
- Cobb, William. Harry Reunited. Montgomery: Black Belt Press, 1995.
- Cobb, William. Somewhere in All This Green: New and Selected Stories. Montgomery: Black Belt Press, 1998.
- Cobb, William. A Spring of Souls. Birmingham: Crane Hill Publishers, 1999.
- Cobb, William. Wings of Morning. Birmingham: Crane Hill Publishers, 2001.
- First place, college fiction contest, Story magazine, 1964, for "The Stone Soldier"
- Alabama Author Award, Alabama Library Association, 2000, for Somewhere in All This Green: New and Selected Stories
- Harper Lee Award for Alabama's Distinguished Writer, Alabama Writers' Forum and Alabama Writers Symposium, 2007
William Cobb was born in Eutaw, Ala., and grew up in Demopolis, Ala. He attended Livingston State College (now the University of West Alabama), where he first began writing. After graduating from Livingston in 1961 with a BA in English, Cobb enrolled in graduate school at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. He earned his MA in English in 1963 and began teaching at Alabama College (now the University of Montevallo). In 1964, Cobb’s "The Stone Soldier" won a college fiction contest sponsored by Story magazine.
From the 1960s through the 1990s, Cobb published his short stories in national literary magazines. In 1978, he was awarded a fellowship for creative writing by the National Endowment for the Arts. Cobb’s first novel, Coming of Age at the Y, was published in 1984. Between 1984 and 2001, he published five more novels and a collection of short stories. In the 1980s, Cobb began writing plays. Three of his plays have been produced in New York City. Cobb was made writer-in-residence at Montevallo in 1987 and continued in that position until his retirement in 2000.
Interests and Themes
Most of William Cobb’s fiction is set in small-town Alabama. Some of his work is characterized by grotesque characters and satirical humor. Three of his novels concern race relations in the 1960s.
For More Information
Please check your local library for these materials. If items are not available locally, your librarian can help you borrow them through the InterLibrary Loan program. Your librarian can also help you find other information about this author.
There may be more information available through the databases in the Alabama Virtual Library. If you are an Alabama citizen, AVL can be used at your public library or school library media center. You can also get a username and password from your librarian to use AVL at home.
- Gamble, Danny. "A Sense of Place: William Cobb Wins 2007 Harper Lee Award". First Draft Spring. 2007: 2-3.
- Ryan, Shawn. "Author William Cobb Keeps His Quiver Full of Different Arrows". Birmingham News 3 Dec. 1995: 1F.
Reference Book Chapters and Encyclopedia Entries
- Cobb, William. "When the Opry Was in Ryman and We Still Believed in God"; The Remembered Gate: Memoirs by Alabama Authors. Ed. Jay Lamar and Jeanie Thompson. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, . 182-203.
Reference Web Sites
Photo courtesy of the Alabama Writers' Forum.
Last updated on May 30, 2008.