Francis Irby Gwaltney

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Francis Irby Gwaltney (born 9 September 1921 in Traskwood, Arkansas died 27 February 1981) was a prolific Southern American author. He was the most well known author to have set his books in Arkansas.[1]


After his father died, Gwaltney was raised in Charleston, Arkansas.

During World War II, he served with the 112th Cavalry in the Philippines Campaign (1944–45) where he met Norman Mailer.[2]

Returning to Arkansas after the war, Gwaltney obtained his high school diploma, then earned a degree in English from the University of Arkansas. He married Emma Carolyn Calhoun in 1947,[3] earned a Masters in English in 1950 and taught at various schools.

He wrote his first novel The Yeller-Headed Summer with help of his war buddy, Norman Mailer. His most famous novel based on his war experiences was The Day the Century Ended that was filmed as Between Heaven and Hell.

Gwaltney wrote teleplays for Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Fugitive.[4]


  • The Yeller-Headed Summer (1954)
  • The Whole Town Knew (1955)
  • The Day the Century Ended (1955)
  • A Moment Of Warmth (1957)
  • Historic Washington, Arkansas: A Survey (1958)
  • The Numbers of Our Days (1959)
  • A Step in the River: A Novel/The Violators (1960)
  • Consent and Desire (1962)
  • The Quicksand Years (1965)
  • Destiny's Chickens (1973)
  • Idols and Axle Grease (1974)


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