“I was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and raised in Detroit, but it seems to me that I spent my childhood in books,” Nancy Price says. “At fourteen I saw a poem of mine published in the Detroit News, and there I was: a writer.”
Nancy received her B.A. in English and art from Cornell College in 1946. In 1945 she married Howard J. Thompson, who joined the faculty of the University of Northern Iowa. Their three children, Catherine, John and David, were born in the 1950s.
In 1961 Nancy studied with Philip Booth and John Holmes at Tufts University and began to publish her poetry. “I wrote poems in the hours before my husband and three children woke, and we danced jigs together when the poems, and my stories, too, appeared in the Saturday Review…the Atlantic Monthly…the Quarterly Review of Literature…the New York Times…the Virginia Quarterly Review,” Nancy says. In the next decade more than one hundred of her poems and several short stories appeared in print.
In 1964 she received her M.A. from the University of Northern Iowa, completed further graduate coursework at the Writers Workshop, University of Iowa, and taught at U.N.I. until 1968, when she left to write her first novel, A Natural Death, a story of South Carolina life before the Civil War.
“Atlantic-Little, Brown published my first novel, and I was blessed with a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and residencies at the Karolyi Foundation in France, the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland and the Rockefeller Foundation Center in Italy. How could I have traveled otherwise? We didn’t have much money.” Nancy says.
Her second novel, An Accomplished Woman, was published by Coward, McCann and Geoghegan in 1979 and became a Book-of-the-Month Club alternate that year. The New American Library published a paperback edition in 1980.
In 1983 two stories of hers were selected in the National Syndicated Fiction Project Competition of the National Endowment for the Arts and PEN American Center. These stories appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Hartford Courant, Kansas City Star, Minneapolis Star, Newsday, Oregonian Northwest Magazine, Miami Herald, Rocky Mountain News and San Francisco Chronicle. In 1985 another story of hers was chosen for this prize.
Nancy Price’s third novel, Sleeping With the Enemy, was published by Simon and Schuster in 1987 and was a Literary Guild alternate and a Berkeley paperback in 1988. In 1991 this book became a Twentieth Century Fox feature film starring Julia Roberts.
In June 1992 Pocket Books published Nancy Price’s fourth novel, Night Woman, and it was a Literary Guild choice. Her fifth novel, Bonfire’s Daughter, was published in France in 1997 by Presses de la Cite, her French publisher. A sixth novel, Snake In the Blackberries, was published in France in 2001. Both of these were also Club France Loisirs editions. Her seventh, novel, Two Liars and a Bride, appeared in France in 2003.
The English version of Snake In the Blackberries, retitled No One Knows, was published by Malmarie Press, Inc. in 2004. Her novels have appeared in England, and in translation in Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, France, Germany, Japan, South America, Korea, Poland, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Russia, Finland, Portugal, Slovakia, Hungary, and Israel.
Nancy tried something new when she created sixteen pen-and-ink illustrations, the dust cover and end papers for the American publication of NO ONE KNOWS. She works half the year in Iowa, the other half near Orlando, Florida.
Nancy Price says: “Looking back, I can’t believe that I—a housewife in Cedar Falls, Iowa--saw my poems and short stories appear in magazines, newspapers and books. My novels became best sellers, and have been translated into fifteen foreign languages. A Twentieth Century Fox film starring Julia Roberts was made of my novel SLEEPING WITH THE ENEMY. Surely such miracles must encourage every writer who reads this biography.”