Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Champions of LWOT: Darren O'Groussny

Darren O’Groussny
Managing Editor, 1935 – 1947

Considered by many to be one of the preeminent fiction writers of his time, Darren Joseph O’Groussny made a name for himself at a young age with his rural-themed short stories and simple, yet incisive, style of prose. By the tender age of twenty-two, O’Groussny was a literary sensation. His second novel, West Of The Sun, won both the Enda Pulliver Prize for Fiction, and the Commonwealth Colonies Book Award.

Taking over as Managing Editor of LWOT following the death of George Ross, O’Groussny, only twenty-five years old, oversaw the publication of some of LWOT’s most famous – and infamous – issues, including Terrific Tales of Front-Line Combat, and 1937’s LWOT: The Dustbowl Chronicles, the proceeds of which helped to provide drought-stricken farmers with essential provisions like flour, meat, and cigarettes.

A regular presence at the Yaddo Writers’ Colony in Saratoga Springs, New York, it was there that O’Groussny first met lifelong friend, American novelist John Cheever. They remained close right until Cheever’s death in 1983, at which point O'Groussny became deeply involved in a legal struggle with Cheever's children to prevent the publication of their peronal correspondence. Speculation that they were lovers has been dismissed by academics, however, who point to the extensive collection of Asian-themed pornography - discovered upon O’Groussny’s death in 1992 - as proof of his unremitting heterosexuality.

An omnibus collection of his short fiction, The Stories of Darren O’Groussny, was a Canadian Book Critics Selection in 1984, and a volume collecting the letters he exchanged with Cheever, released in the United States the following year, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

You can learn more about the exciting history of LWOT here.

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