James Purdy

The Ohio Connection

“I come from a very long lineage of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians who were too mean to give up.”
—James Purdy, in a 1974 interview with Penthouse

  • James Purdy was born in 1923 in Fremont, a town in northwestern Ohio that has since grown into a city of 17,000. His parents were William and Vera (Covick) Purdy.
  • Purdy spent the early years of his youth on his grandmother’s farm; his rural upbringing is the source of much of his fiction.
  • Many of his stories are set in rural Ohio, including Jeremy’s Version (1970), which is said to be the novel that made Purdy popular in the U.S.
  • In 1977 he gave a reading from his works at The Ohio State University.
  • Though he was too ill at the time to personally accept it, Purdy received the 1996 Ohioana Career Award.

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