Carol Sklenicka

Carol Sklenicka is an American biographer, literary scholar, and essayist best known as the author of ''Raymond Carver: A Writer's Life'', which remains the only comprehensive biography of short story writer Raymond Carver. Ten years later, Sklenicka published her "perceptive, elegantly written" ''Alice Adams: Portrait of a Writer'', a biography of the short-story writer and novelist Alice Adams. ''The New York Times Book Review'' listed both books on end-of-year best lists; Blake Bailey called Sklenicka a "lucid, scrupulous writer… [who] is prudent and appreciative in her assessment of Adams’s work."

Sklenicka "gives us the first full-length popular biography of brilliant novelist and short story writer Alice Adams. For decades, Adams rendered believably three-dimensional female characters in beautiful, cut-glass prose in venues like ''The New Yorker,''" noted a ''Christian Science Monitor'' reviewer in naming ''Alice Adams: Portrait of a Writer'' one of that newspaper's top 10 books for the month.

Sklenicka grew up in Santa Maria, California, graduated from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California in 1971, and received a Ph.D. in English and American literature from Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied with Naomi Lebowitz, Stanley Elkin, and Howard Nemerov, in 1986. She taught literature and creative writing at Marquette University and at the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. She now devotes herself to writing, environmental activism, and rural living near the Russian River in northern California with poet and novelist R. M. Ryan, author of ''Vaudeville in the Dark'', ''There's a Man with a Gun Over There'', ''The Lost Roads Adventure Club'', and other books.

The publication of her biography of Carver, which was named one of the Ten Best Books of 2009 by ''The New York Times Magazine'' and a notable book by the ''San Francisco Chronicle'', the ''Washington Post'', and the ''Seattle Times'', followed more than a decade of interviews with Carver's friends, family and writing colleagues. However, Carver's widow, poet Tess Gallagher, chose not to be interviewed by Sklenicka. Some critics, most notably novelist Stephen King, writing in ''The New York Times Book Review'', found that Sklenicka displayed "something like awe for Carver the writer" and was "almost nonjudgmental when it comes to Carver the nasty drunk and ungrateful (not to mention sometimes dangerous) husband," whereas Jason M. Appel, in ''Ploughshares'', said "Carver, as presented by Sklenicka, is a man of profound moral shortcomings." ''Time'' found the book "judicious, thorough and sometimes harrowing".

Among the journals to which Sklenicka has contributed are ''Confrontation'', ''South Atlantic Quarterly'', ''Iowa Woman'', and ''Sou'wester''. She is an active member of Biographers International Organization.
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