The United States lost an acclaimed American novelist on Jan. 20 when Reynolds Price died of complications from a heart attack at age 77. A native of Macon, N.C., and a Rhodes Scholar, Price found a mentor in Eudora Welty. She read his fiction when he was a young writer and showed it to her agent, who decided to represent him.
Price was a professor at Duke University for half a century, teaching creative writing and the poetry of John Milton. According to The New York Times, “his novels and short stories about ordinary people in rural North Carolina struggling to find their place in the world established him as one of the most important voices in modern Southern fiction.” The National Book Critics Circle named Price’s “Kate Vaiden” the best work of fiction in 1986.
Among the many awards he received in his lifetime, one came from Wake Forest. In 1979, during the administration of James Ralph Scales, Price was the recipient of a Wake Forest honorary degree: Doctor of Letters. At any university, reading his fiction should be a requirement.