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August 3, 1943
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, United States
|Alma mater||Northwestern University|
Kermit Moyer (born August 3, 1943) is an American author, best known for Tumbling, his collection of short stories. The New York Times Book Review called Tumbling, "a work of ringing authenticity" and greeted him as "an impressive new voice." His second book, a novel-in-stories called The Chester Chronicles, was published in February 2010 and has been called "eloquent" and "stylish" by Publishers Weekly. He taught literature and creative writing at the American University in Washington, DC, for 37 years since 1970.
Kermit Moyer was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. His ancestry was Scottish and German. His ancestor Nicholas Moyer (d. 1785) is said to have come to the U.S. shortly before the Revolutionary War. His father was an Army officer named Kermit Wonders Moyer (1910–1989), after whom he was named, so that the name on his birth certificate reads: “Kermit Wonders Moyer, II.” His mother’s name was Frieda Laurel Hess (1910–2005). He has a younger sister, Candy Carter born in 1946.
Due to his father being in the U.S Army, the family moved around quite a bit both in the U.S.A. and overseas, which included places like Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland (1944–1947); Honolulu, Hawaii (1947–1950); Columbia, South Carolina (1950–1951); Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (1951–1955); Okinawa (1955–1956); Dallas, Texas (1956–1959);and Augusta, Georgia (1959–1961). His father retired from the U.S. Army after 20 years of service in 1961 at the rank of Lt. Colonel, and moved to Winter Park, Florida with his wife.
Kermit Moyer entered the Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, in the fall of 1961. He lived in Evanston and Chicago, Illinois, while working on his undergraduate and graduate degrees. Moyer was on a full academic scholarship at Northwestern as an undergraduate and on fellowships and assistantships as a graduate student. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1965 as an English major, and got his M.A. in English at Northwestern in 1966. Then having decided that he was a reader rather than the writer he wanted to be, Moyer enrolled in the doctoral program and got his Ph.D. in American Literature in 1972 with a doctoral dissertation on "The Historical Perspective of F. Scott Fitzgerald." Moyer also taught at Northwestrern as part of his assistantship from 1967 to 1970.
Kermit Moyer moved to Washington, DC, in the summer of 1970 and began teaching at American University that fall. He won the university's Outstanding Teaching Award in 1981. Moyer began writing poetry in 1981 and published a few of his poems in lesser-known literary magazines; but he returned to his original ambition of writing fiction in the summer of 1982. Moyer's first published story was "The Compass of the Heart," which appeared in the Fall 1983 issue of The Georgia Review. In the 1980s, he published stories in literary journals such as The Southern Review, The Sewanee Review, The Crescent Review, and The Hudson Review. In 1988, a collection of Moyer's stories, called Tumbling, was published by the University of Illinois Press in its Illinois Short Fiction Series to rave reviews in Publishers Weekly and The New York Times Book Review.
From 1992 to 1995, Moyer was Chair of the Literature Department at American University, after which, he was Co-Director of the Master of Fine Arts Program in Creative Writing.
Moyer began writing stories narrated by an autobiographical character named Chester Patterson in the 1990s, and by the time of his retirement from teaching in 2007, he had put together these stories to form a novel called The Chester Chronicles, which was published on February 1, 2010, by The Permanent Press (Sag Harbor, New York).
The major influences on Moyer's writing include Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, the short stories of Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Henry Miller, Herman Melville, Thomas Pynchon's novel Gravity's Rainbow, Frank Conroy's memoir Stop-Time, James Salter's novel Light Years, and many other contemporary American works and writers.
While teaching at the American University in Washington, DC, Moyer met Amy, one of his students who was a senior Literature major. They married in 1972 and are still happily married; they have no children. After his retirement, he and his wife Amy moved to Cape Cod, where they currently live with their dog Zora.
Awards and honors
- 2011 L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award, The Chester Chronicles,