H. E. Francis was born and raised in Bristol, R.I., a New England mill town. After finishing high school, he worked as an accountant in a zipper factory. Francis served in the US Army Air Force during World War II and used the G.I. Bill to attend college after the war. He graduated with a BA in English and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin in 1948 and earned an AM from Brown University in 1950. Francis taught at Pennsylvania State University, University of Tennessee, Northern Illinois University, and Emory University before joining the English department of the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1966. After Francis’s retirement, the UAH English department and the Ruth Hindman Foundation established an annual short story competition named for him.
Francis began writing when he was teaching at Pennsylvania State. His first story was accepted by the literary magazine Prairie Schooner. Since then, Francis has published novels and short story collections in both English and Spanish. A Fulbright Scholarship to Oxford in the 1950s and three Fulbright grants to Argentina in the 1960s and early 1970s furthered his interest in Spanish literature. In addition to his own writing, Francis also translates the work of Spanish-language writers. Francis divides his time between Huntsville and Madrid, Spain, with frequent visits to Argentina.
The fiction of H. E. Francis features themes of isolation, loneliness, and loss. His writing style is influenced by his studies of world literature, especially Spanish-language literature.
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Photo by N. L. Romero; courtesy of BkMk Press.
Last updated on May 30, 2008.