Kent Haruf dies aged 71

01 December 2014

Kent Haruf has died at the age of 71.

'This weekend we learnt the very sad news of the death of the remarkable American novelist Kent Haruf.

When I came to Picador six years ago there was one writer who seemed to unite all my colleagues in admiration and indeed in a determination to bring his work to readers. This was Kent Haruf, a writer whose beautifully restrained, deeply felt novels reflected a man of integrity, honesty and deep thoughtfulness. Haruf’s writing commanded utter devotion from all his readers and there was simply no writer more loved at Pan Macmillan. When he was chosen on the shortlist of the inaugural Folio Prize, there could not have been more delight that wider recognition might come to such a great writer and great man.

I believe that in the loose trilogy of Plainsong, Eventide and Benediction he produced one of the masterpieces of contemporary American fiction. These novels, set in the fictional Holt, Colorado, form one of the major achievements of contemporary American fiction, rivalling the great works of Cormac McCarthy, Richard Ford, Jane Smiley and Annie Proulx in creating a mythical modern American landscape. The quiet restraint of his writing belied his extraordinary ability to dissect the minutiae of relationships, no more so than in his heart-breakingly poignant final novel Our Souls at Night. This is a bold, brave and original view of a relationship between a man and a woman in advanced age who defy convention and is a fitting last word from an eloquent and inspiring writer.'

– Paul Baggaley, Picador publisher

Kent Haruf was the author of the Plainsong trilogy, set in the fictional town of Holt in Colorado. Benediction, the third in the series, was nominated for the Folio Prize earlier this year.

Our thoughts and condolences are with his family at this time.

 

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