T. Coraghessan Boyle (also known as T.C. Boyle, born Thomas John Boyle on December 2, 1948) is a U.S. novelist and short story writer. Since the mid 1970s, he has published eleven novels and more than 60 short stories. He won the PEN/Faulkner award in 1988 for his third novel, World's End, which recounts 300 years in upstate New York. He is married with three children. Boyle has been a Distinguished Professor of English at the University of Southern California since 1978, when he founded the school's undergraduate creative writing program.
Thomas John Boyle was born December 2, 1948 in Peekskill, New York. He grew up in the small town on the Hudson Valley that he regularly fictionalizes as Peterskill (as in widely anthologized short story "Greasy Lake"). Boyle changed his middle name when he was 17 and exclusively used Coraghessan for much of his career, but now also goes by T.C. Boyle.
Boyle earned a BA in English and history from the State University of New York at Potsdam in 1968, after which he taught for four years at the high school in his home town where his mother worked as head secretary and his father as a janitor. After being accepted to the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1972, Boyle served as fiction editor for The Iowa Review, and in 1977 received a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1988 he received a Guggenheim. Boyle has since received many literary awards, including the PEN/Faulkner Award, the PEN/Malamud Prize, the PEN/West Literary Prize, the Commonwealth Gold Medal for Literature, the National Academy of Arts and Letters Award for Prose Excellence. His short fiction has won him six O. Henry Awards for short fiction, and multiple appearances in the Best American Short Story awards.
Boyle earned his MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop in 1974 and his Ph.D. degree in 19th century British literature in 1977. He has been a member of the English Department at the University of Southern California since 1978, and currently lives in Santa Barbara with his wife and three children.
Many of Boyle's novels and short stories explore the Baby Boom generation, its appetites, joys, and addictions. Boyle's themes, such as the often-misguided efforts of the male hero and the slick appeal of the anti-hero, appear alongside brutal satire, humor, and magic realism. Boyle's fiction also explores the ruthlessness and the unpredictability of nature and the toll human society unwittingly takes on the environment. Boyle's work has been compared to Mark Twain's for its mixture of humor and social exploration.
His novels include World's End (1987, winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award for Fiction); The Road to Wellville (1993); and The Tortilla Curtain (1995, winner of France's Prix Medicis Etranger). Boyle is also one of America's most accomplished short story writers and has published eight collections, including Descent of Man (1979), Greasy Lake (1985), If the River was Whiskey (1989), and Without a Hero (1994). His short stories regularly appear in the major American magazines, including The New Yorker, Harper's, Esquire magazine, The Atlantic Monthly and Playboy.
|Time||Setting||Historical personage in the novel|
|World's End (1987)||Late 17th century, 1949 and 1968||Northern Westchester County near Peekskill, New York|| |
|Water Music (1982)||1795||London, Scotland, and Africa (source of the Niger)||Mungo Park|
|The Road to Wellville (1993)||1907||Battle Creek, Michigan||John Harvey Kellogg|
|Riven Rock (1998)||1905-1925||Montecito, Santa Barbara County, California||Stanley McCormick, Katharine McCormick|
|The Inner Circle (2004)||1940s-50s||Bloomington, Indiana||Alfred Kinsey|
|Drop City (2003)||1970||California, Alaska|| |
|Budding Prospects (1984)||1980s||California|| |
|East Is East (1990)||1980s||Georgia (American South)||Hu Tu Mei|
|The Tortilla Curtain (1995)||1990s||Southern California|| |
|Talk Talk (2006)||2000s||California and New York state|| |
|A Friend of the Earth (2000)||late 1980s; 2025-2026||California, Oregon|| |