Cheuse was born on January 23, 1940, in Perth Amboy, New Jersey, the son of a Russian immigrant father and a mother of Russian-Romanian descent. He was educated at Perth Amboy High School (1957) and Rutgers University (BA, 1961; PhD in Comparative Literature, 1974), where he wrote his doctoral dissertation on the life and work of the Cuban novelist Alejo Carpentier. Cheuse taught at Bennington College (Vermont), the University of the South (Sewanee, Tennessee), the University of Virginia (Charlottesville), and the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor). He taught in the creative writing program at George Mason University from 1987 until his death. He lived in Northern Virginia during the school year and spent his summers in Santa Cruz, California, teaching at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers.
Since having his first piece of short fiction published in the New Yorker at age thirty-nine, Cheuse's work appeared in such literary magazines as Ploughshares, the Antioch Review, Prairie Schooner, the Southern Review, and New Letters. In 1979, Cheuse received a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and he has traveled to Colombia, Uruguay, and Chile on a grant from the United States Information Agency.
Critics have praised Cheuse's lyricism and strength of narrative voice, usually as filtered through a memorable protagonist or speaker. Passages often contain palpable echoes of the styles employed by other writers, which add depth to the narrative and likely stemmed in part from the voluminous reading and reviewing he performed for NPR.
Cheuse died on July 31, 2015, from injuries sustained in a car accident in California on July 14.
- Candace & Other Storie (1980)
- The Bohemians: John Reed and His Friends Who Shook the World, A Novel (1982)
- The Grandmothers' Club (1986)
- Fall Out of Heaven: An Autobiographical Journey (1987)
- The Light Possessed (1990)
- The Tennessee Waltz and Other Stories (1990)
- Lost and Old Rivers: Stories (1998)
- Listening to the Page: Adventures in Reading and Writing (2001)
- The Fires (2007)
- To Catch the Lightning (2008)
- A Trance After Breakfast (2009)
- Song of Slaves in the Desert (2011)
- Paradise, or, Eat Your Face (2012)
- An Authentic Captain Marvel Ring & Other Stories (2014)
- Prayers for the Living (2015)
January 23, 1940 - Alan Cheuse is born in Perth Amboy, New Jersey.
1961 - Alan Cheuse earns a BA from Rutgers University.
1974 - Alan Cheuse earns a PhD in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University.
1979 - Novelist Alan Cheuse receives a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.
1987 - Alan Cheuse begins teaching in the creative writing program at George Mason University.
1990 - Novelist Alan Cheuse authors The Light Possessed, a novel inspired by the life and works of Georgia O'Keeffe.
July 14, 2015 - Alan Cheuse is in a car accident in California.
July 31, 2015 - Alan Cheuse dies from injuries sustained in a car accident in California on July 14.
Cite This Entry
- APA Citation:
Hegnauer, L. Alan Cheuse (1940–2015). (2015, August 3). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Cheuse_Alan_1940-.
- MLA Citation:
Hegnauer, Lilah. "Alan Cheuse (1940–2015)." Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities, 3 Aug. 2015. Web. READ_DATE.
First published: June 23, 2008 | Last modified: August 3, 2015