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Novelist, playwright, screenwriter and essayist Randall Silvis is the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Theatre Association of Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and numerous other awards.
Silvis's first book of fiction, THE LUCKIEST MAN IN THE WORLD (University of Pittsburgh Press 1984 and Bard/Avon 1987), was selected by Joyce Carol Oates as the winner of the prestigious Drue Heinz Literature Prize. Of THE LUCKIEST MAN, the New York Times Book Review said, "Randall Silvis is a masterful storyteller."
Silvis's first novel, EXCELSIOR (Henry Holt 1988), has also drawn its share of acclaim. The New York Times Book Review praised its "considerable pathos and suspense," and Library Journal called it "a ruefully comic, entertaining and impressive novel."
Randall Silvis's literary mystery AN OCCASIONAL HELL was published in 1993 by The Permanent Press, and by Ballantine Books in 1996. Publishers Weekly praised its "vibrant prose, astute observations and hard truths"; John W. Aldridge, one of America's foremost literary critics, called it "a stunning performance by a writer of exceptional talent"; the Columbus Dispatch praised it as "an irresistible page-turner that can satisfy the most demanding literary tastes"; and Los Angeles Reader hailed it as "riveting...complex, convoluted, and compelling." A finalist for the 1994 Hammett Prize from the International Association of Crime Writers, it was named one of the five best crime books published in North America the preceding year. The movie based on the novel and scripted by Silvis, starring Tom Berenger in the lead role, premiered in November 1996.
In 1993 The Permanent Press released another Silvis novel, UNDER THE RAINBOW. Reviews of UNDER THE RAINBOW called it "poignant," "curiously satisfying," and "one of the funniest books of the year." It was rated "highly recommended" by Library Journal.
In 1996, Carroll & Graf published DEAD MAN FALLING, a literary thriller. Publishers Weekly called it a "darkly compelling story" and Booklist "a superbly written...eminently readable crime novel," while the literary magazine Collages & Bricolages reported that Silvis "transforms the formula with a lithe lyricism and an astounding literary soul."
In December 1999 Silvis? literary novel MYSTICUS was published as a collectors? edition by an independent publisher based in Los Angeles, Wolfhawk Books. Author and critic Lee K. Abbott calls MYSTICUS ?that rarest of rare books,? and the Erie Times-News hailed MYSTICUS as ?a symphony. Irresistible.? The Midwest Book Review rated the novel ?highly recommended,? and described it as ?a literary symphony (displaying) a consummate mastery of prose.?
ON NIGHT?S SHORE, a literary historical thriller from Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press, appeared in January 2001 to raves from all the major review sources. The novel received a starred review in Booklist, and has been described by Publishers Weekly as ’stylish?gritty and opulent? and by the New York Post as ?a riveting tale of murder and betrayal (that) drips with descriptive power.? Best-selling author Maan Meyers said of the novel, ?Move over, Caleb Carr. Randall Silvis’s writing is exquisite and true.? The novel was selected by the New York Times for their summer list of must-read books. In Spring 2002 the novel will be re-released as a St. Martin’s paperback, simultaneous with the hardcover release of Silvis’s newest literary historical thriller, DISQUIET HEART.
In the meantime Randall Silvis’s comic thriller, BLOOD AND INK, and his collection of creative nonfiction, CHASING THE BOO: A WRITER?S LIFE, are being prepared for publication as digital downloads and on compact disk. His essays about the possibilities and ramifications of the electronic publishing revolution have appeared in numerous electronic magazines.
A prolific short story writer, essayist, and journalist, Silvis's work has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, Manoa, Prism International, Destination Discovery, the Magazine of the Discovery Channel, and numerous other magazines. His articles on the craft of writing have appeared in The Writer, The Writer's Handbook, Writer's Digest, Fiction Writer and elsewhere.
As a playwright, Silvis has had over a dozen plays produced throughout the United States and Off-off-Broadway and has garnered, among other prizes, three National Playwrights Showcase Awards, the Ruby Lloyd Apsey Prize from the University of Alabama, and the Drama Award from the Deep South Writers Conference. The Erie Times describes his work as "poetic...powerful...and unique" and hails Silvis as a writer destined to become "one of the most important American playwrights since Tennessee Williams."
Randall Silvis’s original screenplay Marguerite and the Moonman is currently in development with a Hollywood producer, as is the screen adaptation of his novella The Luckiest Man In the World. Other screenwriting credits include Believe the Children, a docudrama commissioned by the producers of Silvis’s An Occasional Hell, and his current project, Mr. Dream Merchant, commissioned by Sound Pictures of Los Angeles. Several other screenwriting projects are pending.
A Fulbright Fellow, a MacDowell Fellow, and a James Thurber Writer-in-Residence, Silvis has taught creative writing at numerous universities and writers' conferences throughout the country.
In the words of Pulitzer Prize nominee William Allen, Randall Silvis is "this country's most pitch-perfect stylist...and one of a few writers in his generation who will make a difference."