Thomas Harris

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For other people named Thomas Harris, see Thomas Harris (disambiguation).
Thomas Harris
Harris' portrait inside the cover of Hannibal (1999)
Born (1940-04-11) April 11, 1940 (age 76)
Jackson, Tennessee, U.S.
Occupation Novelist
Nationality American
Education English language
Alma mater Baylor University
Period 1975–2006
Genre Crime, horror, suspense
Notable works Red Dragon
The Silence of the Lambs
Hannibal Rising
Black Sunday
Partner Pace Barnes

Thomas Harris (born April 11, 1940) is an American writer, best known for a series of suspense novels about his most famous character, Hannibal Lecter. All of his works have been made into films, the most notable being the multi-Oscar-winning The Silence of the Lambs, which became only the third film in Academy Award history to sweep the Oscars in major categories.[1]


Harris was born in Jackson, Tennessee,[2] but moved as a child with his family to Rich, Mississippi. He was introverted and bookish in grade school and then blossomed in high school.[3] He attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, where he majored in English and graduated in 1964. While in college, he worked as a reporter for the local newspaper, the Waco Tribune-Herald, covering the police beat. In 1968, he moved to New York City to work for the Associated Press until 1974 when he began work on Black Sunday.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Little is known about Harris's personal life as he avoids publicity and has not given an interview since 1976.[5] At Baylor University he met and married a fellow student named Harriet. They had one daughter, Anne, before they divorced in the 1960s.[6] Fellow novelist Stephen King has remarked that if writing is sometimes tedious for other authors, to Harris it is like "writhing on the floor in agonies of frustration", because, for Harris, "the very act of writing is a kind of torment". Harris remained close to his mother, Polly, and reportedly called her every night, no matter where he was, and often discussed particular scenes from his work with her.[7] She died on December 31, 2011.[8] He currently lives in South Florida and has a summer home in Sag Harbor, New York,[9] with his long-term partner Pace Barnes, a woman who, according to USA Today, "used to work in publishing and is as outgoing as he is quiet."[10] Harris's friend and literary agent Morton Janklow said of him: "He's one of the good guys. He is big, bearded and wonderfully jovial. If you met him, you would think he was a choirmaster. He loves cooking—he's done the Le Cordon Bleu exams—and it's great fun to sit with him in the kitchen while he prepares a meal and see that he's as happy as a clam. He has these old-fashioned manners, a courtliness you associate with the South."[11]

Novelist John Dunning said of Harris, "All he is is a talent of the first rank."[12]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Conklin 1999
  2. ^ Cowley 2006 p. 45
  3. ^ Laughlin 1999
  4. ^ Conklin 1999
  5. ^ Hoban 1991
  6. ^ Streibling 2001
  7. ^ Cowley 2006 p. 45
  8. ^ Bolivar 2012
  9. ^ Hoban 1991
  10. ^ Minzesheimer 1999
  11. ^ Cowley 2006 p. 45
  12. ^ Dunning 1992 p. 159

External links[edit]