Tuesday, March 6, 2007

William Haywood Henderson

William Haywood Henderson is the author of three novels, Native, The Rest of the Earth, and Augusta Locke, which was released by Viking in April 2006 and is out this month in paperback.

Since 2002 he has taught novel writing at Lighthouse Writers Workshop.

I asked him what he's been reading. His reply:

I’ve been teaching a lot of creative writing workshops, so I’ve been reading student manuscripts, mostly novels-in-progress. I work primarily with advanced writers, and these novels can be quite beautiful and engaging — anything from a haunting tale of the dirty war in Argentina to the life of an Indian scout on the plains in the 1800s.

The most recent published novels I finished were by authors I met at the Montana Festival of the Book: And She Was, by Cindy Dyson, and High Country, by Willard Wyman. Both are wonderful reads, full of the beauty of the West, Alaska for Dyson and Montana and the Sierra Nevada for Wyman. High Country won the Spur Award (from the Western Writers of America) for best first novel and best novel. Oh, and I also read Persuasion, by Jane Austen (she wasn’t at the Montana Festival).

With all of my teaching, I haven’t been able to finish any books lately, but I have a few books at various stages of completion. First, there’s The Sea, by John Banville, which I picked for its pretty cover (well, almost) and because it won the Man Booker Prize; I’ve never found a Man Booker Prize winner I didn’t like. I’m about halfway through Angle of Repose, by Wallace Stegner, a book that I’d somehow missed reading over the years. I’m enjoying This Cold Heaven — Seven Seasons in Greenland, by Gretel Ehrlich. And at bedtime I’ve been dabbling in Unfinished Tales, by J.R.R. Tolkien, to escape from the disasters of the modern world into the disasters of the mythical past.

Henderson applied the Page 69 Test to Augusta Locke last year.

--Marshal Zeringue