This Goodly Land

Richard North Patterson (February 22, 1947–present)

Alabama Connections

Selected Works

Literary Awards

Biographical Information

Richard North Patterson was born in Berkeley, Calif., and grew up in the Cleveland suburb of Bay Village, Ohio. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in 1968 and from Case-Western Reserve University’s School of Law with a JD in 1971. For the next two years, Patterson worked for the Office of the Attorney General of Ohio in Columbus. In 1973, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he worked for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as a liaison to the Watergate special prosecutor. In 1975, Patterson moved to Birmingham, Ala., and became a partner in a law firm there.

Patterson began taking creative writing classes at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, including one taught by Jesse Hill Ford. In these classes, Patterson started writing his first novel, The Lasko Tangent (published in 1979). In 1978, Patterson moved to San Francisco where he worked as an attorney and continued to publish. Discouraged by poor book sales, however, he stopped writing in 1985, moved back to Birmingham, and joined another law firm. In 1992, Patterson began writing again. When Degree of Guilt became a bestseller in 1993, he resigned from legal practice to write full time. A television version of his novels Degree of Guilt and Eyes of a Child was broadcast in 1995. Patterson now divides his time between his homes in San Francisco and Martha’s Vineyard.

Interests and Themes

Richard North Patterson writes thrillers on legal and political subjects. The Outside Man is set in Birmingham, Ala.

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oto courtesy of Random House.

Last updated on Oct 10, 2009.

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