BORN: September 30, 1924, New Orleans, Louisiana
DIED: August 25, 1984, Bel-Air, California
IDENTIFICATION: Mid- to late-twentieth-century fiction and prose
writer known as much for his jet-setting reputation as for his southern
gothic short stories and reportorial fiction.
Truman Capote established himself early as a precocious literary Wunderkind. He began writing at a time when fiction and reportage were widely different modes of writing. His early works, which focused on southern locales and people, drew critical praise for their vivid atmospheres and characterizations. His most famous book, In Cold Blood (1966), a critical and popular success, showed that a writer could make great literature out of real events. This innovative approach to fiction, which he called a [Nonfiction novel,] generated much publicity. Although Capotes later work never attained the success of this novel, he established himself as a leader in the new fiction, and other novelists were quick to follow his lead.