Kent Haruf

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Kent Haruf
BornFebruary 24, 1943
Pueblo, Colorado
DiedNovember 30, 2014(2014-11-30) (aged 71)
Salida, Colorado
Notable worksThe Tie That Binds;

Alan Kent Haruf (February 24, 1943 – November 30, 2014) was an American novelist.


Haruf was born in Pueblo, Colorado, the son of a Methodist minister. In 1965 he graduated with a BA from Nebraska Wesleyan University, where he would later teach, and earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop at the University of Iowa in 1973.

Before becoming a writer, Haruf worked in a variety of places, including a chicken farm in Colorado, a construction site in Wyoming, a rehabilitation hospital in Denver, a hospital in Phoenix, a presidential library in Iowa, an alternative high school in Wisconsin, and colleges in Nebraska and Illinois and as an English teacher with the Peace Corps in Turkey. He lived with his wife, Cathy, in Salida, Colorado, until his death in 2014. He had three daughters from his first marriage.

All[1] of Haruf's novels take place in the fictional town of Holt, in eastern Colorado. Holt is based on Yuma, Colorado, one of Haruf's residences in the early 1980s. His first novel, The Tie That Binds (1984), received a Whiting Award and a special Hemingway Foundation/PEN citation. Where You Once Belonged followed in 1990. A number of his short stories have appeared in literary magazines.

Plainsong was published in 1999 and became a U.S. bestseller. Verlyn Klinkenborg called it "a novel so foursquare, so delicate and lovely, that it has the power to exalt the reader."[2] Plainsong won the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Award and the Maria Thomas Award in Fiction and was a finalist for the National Book Award for Fiction.

Eventide, a sequel to Plainsong, was published in 2004. Library Journal described the writing as "honest storytelling that is compelling and rings true." Jonathan Miles saw it as a "repeat performance" and "too goodhearted."[3][4] A third novel in the series, Benediction was published in 2014.

In the summer of 2014 Haruf finished his last novel, Our Souls at Night, which was published posthumously in 2015.[5] He completed it just before his death. The novel was subsequently adapted in 2017 into a film by the same name, directed by Ritesh Batra and starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda.

On November 30, 2014, Haruf died at his home in Salida, Colorado, at the age of 71, from interstitial lung disease.[5][6][7][8]





  • "The Making of a Writer". Granta Magazine, issue 129: "Fate". London: Granta, 2014.


  • West of Last Chance, with photographer Peter Brown (2008)


  1. ^ "Our Souls at Night". Random House Academic. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  2. ^ "The Sheltering Sky" New York Times review, October 10, 1999
  3. ^ "Eventide: Where the Dust Motes Glow" New York Times review, May 23, 2004
  4. ^ On this, Haruf said: "...the review in the Sunday New York Times by Jonathan Miles—it was a smart-ass review. A quintessential hip cynical eastern view of things. The following Tuesday Kakutani wrote her review, which for her, was a rave. A very positive review. So I figured her review cancelled his out."
  5. ^ a b Yardley, William (December 2, 2014). "Kent Haruf, Acclaimed Novelist of Small-Town Life, Is Dead at 71". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-04-09.
  6. ^ The Washington Post. "Novelist Kent Haruf" retrieved November 30, 2014.
  7. ^ "Publisher says novelist Kent Haruf dies at age 71". Yahoo News. 1 December 2014. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  8. ^ "Kent Haruf, 1943–2014: An astute observer of rural life in the West". Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  9. ^ a b c d "Q & A with Colorado author Kent Haruf", Colorado Central Magazine, April 2014. Retrieved 25 April 2014.
  10. ^ Colorado Humanities. Colorado Book Awards History Archived 2015-11-19 at the Wayback Machine.
  11. ^ Center of the American West. Kent Haruf: 2012 Wallace Stegner Award Recipient.
  12. ^ "The 2014 Folio Prize Shortlist is Announced". Folio Prize. 10 February 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  13. ^ Gaby Wood (10 February 2014). "Folio Prize 2013: The Americans are coming, but not the ones we were expecting". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 February 2014. Retrieved 13 February 2014.
  14. ^ "Benediction: World Premiere". February 2014. Retrieved 23 February 2015. Benediction World Premiere. By Eric Schmiedl. Based on the novel by Kent Haruf, Jan 30 – Mar 1, 2015
  15. ^ Lee Enterprises. "Fine last novel by Kent Haruf". Retrieved 26 June 2015.

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