David Marion Wilkinson
David Marion Wilkinson is a fifth-generation native of Arkansas, born in 1957 in Malvern, Hot Springs County, to a Presbyterian minister and his wife. His struggling family relocated to Houston, where he attended Sharpstown High School and worked every afternoon and weekends for an aging but charismatic and world-weary golf pro and raconteur who told him wonderful stories of life in East Texas, serving as a bomber pilot during WWII, and his experiences on the professional tour during the era from Byron Nelson to Ben Hogan and Harvey Pennick. David was also mentored by two of his high school English teachers, Margaret Stork and Freda Katz--both of whom encouraged him to write. Within days of his 18th birthday, David began classes at the University of Texas at Austin, roughnecking offshore in Texas and Louisiana in order to pay for his college expenses. He earned a degree in English literature (BA, 1980) with a creative writing concentration, which first introduced him to classic and modern fiction. His undergraduate years also placed him in close proximity to working writers like Michael Mewshaw, David Ohle, Laura Furman, Zulikar Ghose, and Don Graham, among others. 1970s Austin was also home to many of the best Texas writers of the time--like Jan Reid, Edwin "Bud" Shrake, Stephen Harrigan, Gary Cartwright, Shelby Hearon, Billy Lee Brammer, and the ghost of J. Frank Dobie to name only a few. All of these energies combined to attract David's attention, fan the flames of his own ambition, and focus his mind and spirit on the goal of becoming a novelist. By graduation, he knew he wanted to be a writer. After college graduation, David accepted an assignment in the oil fields of the North Sea and Saudi Arabia--work that took him to remote and hostile locations throughout the world. Those experiences helped to mature him, but, he later said, also cut him off from his middle-class trajectory and prepared him for the isolation of life as a struggling novelist. While overseas, he also read voratiously for the first time in his life, both British and American and even middle-eastern writers, one book after another. This experience would later prove invaluable. As anyone familiar with Larry McMurtry's non-fiction work can attest, one must first hunger to read before they hunger to write. For too long, David had his prerequisites upside down--and the countless idle hours of offshore drilling and long, lonely commutes on boats, trains, and airplanes to Godforsaken places, many not unlike his grandparent's farm in Arkansas, corrected this deficiency. At the age of 25, David began to write seriously if not professionally. He returned from Saudi Arabia to Austin at age 27, where he married a ballet dancer turned lawyer, and continued to write in conjuction with working a wide variety of horrendous occupations. Over the next twelve years David wrote four failed novels, racking up well over 300 publisher and literary agent rejections which papered the walls of his garage office and much of the house next door (absent owners), finally publishing his fifth, NOT BETWEEN BROTHERS, in 1996. BROTHERS received award-distinction, was optioned to NBC Studios/Tig Productions for a television mini-series (three years in development before the project was abandoned), and sold 100,000 copies. The 15th Annivesary edition of the book will be released in Spring 2010. The REVIEW OF TEXAS BOOKS said NOT BETWEEN BROTHERS was "simply the best historical novel published about Texas in over a decade." David went on to publish THE EMPTY QUARTER (contemporary mainstream, 1998), OBLIVION'S ALTAR (historical, 2002), ONE RANGER (with H. Joaquin Jackson, biography/memoir, 2005). He is currently at work on an historical novel, based on true events, set in 1950s West Texas. David's work has earned two Spur Awards (and been a finalist for that award twice more), the Violet Crown Award (by Barnes & Nobel and the Writers League of Texas), and was a finalist for the Oklahoma Book Award (which says something about any Texas writer). Three of his four books are either now or have been optioned for feature films or television mini-series. Long interested in film, the author adapted THE EMPTY QUARTER for the screen with actor/producer Todd Allen (and screenwriter Bonnie Orr), and co-wrote the script adapted from OBLIVON'S ALTAR (also with Bonnie Orr). Emmy-award-winning screenwriter turned novelist Alan Brennert (www.alanbrennert.com) adapted NOT BETWEEN BROTHERS for NBC, with David modestly consulting. David is proud of his two sons, Bratton Dean Wilkinson, now a twenty-year-old sophomore (film school) at the University of Texas; and William Tate Wilkinson, a junior basketball player and One-Act performer at Alpine High in the Big Bend of Texas. After living in Alpine and Dallas for five years, David recently returned home to Austin, where he married and settled back down to write. He lives quietly with his writer wife, Martha Strain, a native of San Angelo, Texas, who also attended the University of Texas and graduated with an English degree. Martha's been a successful home builder and is still active in interior decorating, with a passion for fine art and great books, as well as a high tolerance of high-maintenance people. Makes it all work. For more information about David or his body of work, please access his website: www.david-marion-wilkinson.com.Read more Read less
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