William Peter Blatty Books In Order

Publication Order of Bill Kinderman Books

The Exorcist (1971) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Legion (1983) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Which Way to Mecca, Jack? (1959) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
John Goldfarb, Please Come Home (1963) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
I, Billy Shakespeare! (1965) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Twinkle, Twinkle, 'Killer' Kane (1966) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Ninth Configuration (1978) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Demons Five, Exorcists Nothing (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Elsewhere (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dimiter (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Crazy (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories

Elsewhere (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Non-Fiction Books

I'll Tell Them I Remember You (1973) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
William Peter Blatty on The Exorcist: From Novel to Film (1974) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
If There Were Demons Then Perhaps There Were Angels (1978) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Finding Peter: A True Story of the Hand of Providence and Evidence of Life after Death (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

William Peter Blatty is a writer and screenwriter most famous for his novel and screenplay adaptation of “The Exorcist.” He is also a writer of humor, with a humorous autobiography and screenplays and scripts of many comedy films to his name. From humble beginnings, the young William went on a winding path through Lebanon and the US Air Force, among other things, to end up with a later career in writing. He lives in Maryland with Julie Alicia Blatty, whom he married on 14th June, 1983 and with whom he has two children.

Early Childhood:

Batty was born in New York City on on 7th January, 1928. His mother, Mary Mouakad and father Peter Blatty were both of Lebanese origin and sailed as adults to the United States. Mary’s uncle and Blatty’s great uncle, Bishop Germanios Mouakad, was one of the great philosophers in the Middle East during his time. He is also the founder Lebanon’s Missionary Society of Saint Paul. His mother was deeply religious and a devout Catholic. Peter Blatty, his father, worked in a garment factory.

Blatty’s father abandoned the family when Blatty was six years old. Mary was left alone to fend for her five children by herself. She cooked and packaged quince jam which she then sold on New York City streets. Young William lived in 28 different homes as the family was often evicted due to their inability to pay rent. Blatty, in his later life, described this phase as living in “comfortable destitution.”

Schooling and Education:

Blatty went to the St. Stephen’s School in New York, a Catholic grammar school. For High School, he studied on scholarship at the Jesuit Brooklyn Preparatory. He received his Bachelor’s Degree, also on scholarship, from Georgetown University, a Jesuit University. Religion was an important component of his education and had a key influence on him, particularly in Blatty’s later life.

Blatty studied at George Washington University for his Master’s Degree in English Literature. It was during this time that he first conceived the idea for his later novel turned award-winning screenplay, “The Exorcist.” It struck him in 1949, when he read an account in a local newspaper, about a 14 year old boy who had been exorcised in Mount Rainier, Maryland. The story stayed with him for years.

Early work life:

After college, Blatty tried out his luck with a variety of jobs. He was a salesman for vacuum cleaners, a truck relief driver and later sold tickets for United Airlines. In 1951 he made a break from it all and enlisted in the US Air Force. He was stationed at Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, and his tasks included analyzing Soviet Propaganda. He eventually headed the Pychological Warfare Division of the USAF. Blatty’s autobiography is a humourous accounting of his childhood and this time in Lebanon.

After the Air Force, Blatty started working for the US Information Agency. He was stationed as an editor in Beirut. It is around this time that he started writing pieces which were published in newspapers and magazines. He then decided to leave Lebanon to pursue his dreams of being active in “acting, publishing and entertainment.”

Blatty’s writing career:

Blatty wasn’t able to pursuit his dream of working in the entertainment industry right away. After returning to the United States, Blatty started working at the University of Southern California, where he was the Director of Publicity. During his time in California, Blatty was also working on his humorous autobiography about his time in the Air Force. “Which Way Jack?” was based on a series of articles by Blatty that were originally published in “The Saturday Evening Post.”

As a way to promote his book, Blatty appeared on Groucho Marx’s quiz show “You Bet Your Life.” On the show, he pretended to be an Arab sheikh who had too many wives to keep count of. Marx was taken in by Blatty’s performance and he ended up winning $10,000. Blatty decided to use his winnings to finance a year where he wouldn’t work, focusing entirely on his writing.

Until 1969, Blatty primarily wrote comedies for Hollywood but he started having difficulty finding work. It is around this time that he rented a cabin near Lake Tahoe and began working on a novel based on the newspaper article he had read about an exorcism, back in 1949, while he was pursuing his Master’s Degree at George Washington University. Blatty had considered becoming a Jesuit priest himself and the case had clearly made a big impression on him. This novel, “The Exorcist” and it’s later screenplay adaptation became immensely popular and got Blatty an academy award.

Early Work 1: “Which Way Jack?”

“Which Way Jack?” is William Peter Blatty’s autobiography of his childhood and his time working as a Propaganda Analyst with the US Air Force in Beirut, Lebanon. Sections of the book first appeared as a series of articles published in “The Saturday Evening Post.” The humorous book, published in 1960, opens with “My mother was an Arab, which would make me part-Arab, except that my father was an Arab, too. But already I digress.” One of the ways in which Blatty promoted his book was by pretending to be an Arab Sheik with too many wives to keep count of, on Groucho Marx’s TV Quiz Show “You Bet Your Life.” He won $10,000 that day and was able to use the winning to change career paths and write full time.

Early Work 2: “The Exorcist”

Published in 1971, “The Exorcist” is William Peter Blatty’s most famous work. The book is about t14 year old girl who is exorcised by a Jesuit psychiatric priest. Blatty first got the idea for the book in 1949, while he was pursuing his Master’s Degree at George Washington University. The local newspaper had a piece about a 14 year old boy in Mount Rainier, Maryland, who had been exorcised. Blatty was raised by a devoutly religious Catholic mother and he had considered becoming a Jesuit priest himself. In 1969, when Blatty started having difficulty finding jobs writing Comedies for Hollywood, he rented a cabin at Lake Tahoe and started working on his horror novel, “The Exorcist.”

“The Exorcist” is inspired by the 1949 case in Maryland, but is more closely based on a 1928 case of exorcism in Earling, Iowa. Blatty explained that at some point he was having difficulty finishing his work. At around this time, he received a sign telling him that he should carry on, from his dead mother. Blatty wore a Jesuit medal on a chain around his neck and one morning he woke up to find that he was wearing not one but two chains and lockets. Another identical chain and locket, which had belonged to his mother, was also around his neck. He finished the novel and went on to write the screenplay for the hugely successful movie of the same name.

Books to Silver Screen

William Peter Blatty wrote the screenplay adaptation of his novel, “The Exorcist,” which went on to become hugely popular and garnered him an Academy Award in 1973. Blatty has collaborated with Director Blake Edwards for writing the scripts of comedies such as “A Shot in the Dark” (1964), “The War, Daddy?” (1966), “Gunn” (1967) and “Darling Lili” (1965). He also wrote under the name Bill Blatty, for “The Man from the Diner’s Club” (1963) and “Promise Her anything” (1965). Blatty adapted “Twinkle, Twinkle “Killer” Kane” into a movie retitled “The Ninth Configuration” (1980), which despite being a commercial flop has a sizable cult following.

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