This Goodly Land

William Cobb (October 20, 1937–present)

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Alabama Connections

Selected Works

Literary Awards

Biographical Information

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.

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Photo courtesy of the Alabama Writers' Forum.

Last updated on May 30, 2008.

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