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William Gay Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

The Long Home (1999)Description / Buy at Amazon
Provinces of Night (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Twilight (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Little Sister Death (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stoneburner (2017)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Lost Country (2018)Description / Buy at Amazon
Fugitives of the Heart (2021)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Short Story Collections

I Hate to See That Evening Sun Go Down (2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Wittgenstein's Lolita and The Iceman (2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stories from the Attic (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Poetry Books

Time Done Been Won't Be No More (2010)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of Anthologies

Stories from the Blue Moon Café(2002)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stories from the Blue Moon Cafe II(2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Alumni Grill(2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stories from the Blue Moon Caf III(2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Anchor Book of New American Short Stories(2004)Description / Buy at Amazon
Stories from the Blue Moon Cafe V(2006)Description / Buy at Amazon
Don't Quit Your Day Job: Acclaimed Authors and the Day Jobs They Quit(2010)Description / Buy at Amazon
Psychos(2012)Description / Buy at Amazon

William Gay was a prominent writer of various novels with a focus on Southern literature. He waited until the later part of his life to become a writer but his work has become rather influential. This is especially in the field of Southern literature as he focuses on many topics relating to life in this part of the United States and how people become mature adults. He has especially become very popular among people as one of the most unique writers to have continued the traditional of other Southern writers like William Faulkner in terms of themes, prose and other key points of writing.


William Gay was born in 1941 in Hohenwald, Tennessee. He entered the United States Navy after graduating from high school and served in the Vietnam War. He lived in New York and Chicago after the war but eventually moved back to Tennessee.

Gay worked in a variety of jobs over the years although not too much is known about his history outside of his military work. He had been writing all kinds of stories since he was around fifteen years of age but he had not published anything until 1999.

Gay wrote a number of books as well as a few collections of short stories. Much of his work involves the field of Southern literature. This is a form of literature that places an emphasis on topics like Southern history, culture and the importance of family and community. The stories focus heavily on many values that people hold in the South and have especially been popular among many who live in this part of the United States.

Much of his work also takes place during the middle part of the twentieth century. His work also focuses on the difficult decisions that people often have to make in their lives and what they can do in order to improve their lives and to get beyond the problems that they have gotten into over time. This includes looking at how people will become adults through the hardships that they face.

He continued to write essays for various magazines including Oxford American to go with many of his other works. Gay died of a presumed heart attack at the age of 70 in 2012.

Early Work

William Gay’s first novel was the 1999 book the Long Home. This is a novel about a carpenter in 1940s Tennessee who learned that his employer was the one who murdered his father when he was young. This leads to him looking to get revenge but he soon falls in love with a woman that works for his employer, thus leading to a significant conflict of interest.

This story is heavily considered to be Southern Gothic novel. This refers to literature on many situations in the South that relate to many problematic issues that have come about over the years including poverty, crime, violence and isolation from the rest of the country.

His next novel was the 2000 book Provinces of Night. This is about a family in Tennessee who has a harsh history of violence against others. The son of a man who is aiming to continue the family’s tradition goes out to try and stop the family from going further down the spiral.

Other Work

One of the later novels from Gay is the 2006 novel Twilight. This book is about two siblings who fear that there was something wrong with the burial of their father. As they discover, their father did not actually get buried in the casket that they had bought. This leads them into looking to see who could have taken their father’s body and why it was taken away.

One particular work that features a number of his short stories is the 2010 collection Time Done Been Won’t Be No More. This marks his first collection of nonfiction work. This focuses extensively on his view of music and art. He also delves into some of his personal details in terms of the work that he had done prior to becoming a popular writer. The book is considered to be among the most personal works that Gay has written.

The 2015 novel Little Sister Death was released a few years after his death. This was inspired by a haunting of a farm in Tennessee in the nineteenth century. It entails a writer to moves to a farm with his family as a means of trying to find inspiration for his work. However, it turns out that the farm itself is haunted. Much of the book entails the writer trying to come to grips with the threats that have permeated his new home and how dangerous it truly is.


In 2007, William Gay was honored with the USA Ford Foundation Fellow honor. He also earned a $50,000 grant from United States Artists as a means of supporting his work.


The Long Home was made into a film in 2016 by James Franco. Franco also co-produced the film and is one of its stars. The film takes place in the 1940s and is about a man who works for a person who murdered his father years earlier. The plotline associated with the movie is essentially identical to the original novel that William Gay wrote. The film also stars Josh Hutcherson, Tim Blake Nelson, Courtney Love and Timothy Hutton.

Provinces of Night inspired a 2010 movie named Bloodworth. This film entails a story of a family who has struggled with the patriarch’s departure and the effects that have come from it. Like in Gay’s story, the film is about the direction that a family aims to head into and how well it is able to move forward in life. The film, which stars Val Kilmer, Kris Kristofferson and Hilary Duff, also features music from popular composer T-Bone Burnett.

The work of William Gay shows that he is a unique writer whose works are reflective of the American South. His works have intriguing themes relating to growing up and the moral decisions that people make in their daily lives. While Gay might be gone, his work continues to impress people.

Book Series In Order » Authors » William Gay

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