A little over 88 years ago, Earl Hamner of Nelson County was born in Schuyler. Since then the man has accomplished a lifetime of work seen all over the world. Saturday October 15th, Earl will received a Literary Lifetime Achievement Award from the Library of Virginia for his work.
Hamner grew up in Schuyler, Virginia, with seven brothers and sisters. From an early age he exhibited a love of words and writing. When he was six his poem, “My Dog” was published on the Children’s Page of the Richmond Times-Dispatch. His potential was recognized and he received encouragement from his teachers and members of
the tight-knit community.
Hamner received a scholarship to the University of Richmond, but midway through his sophomore year Hamner was drafted. He spent time learning to drive tanks and defuse mines, but his ability to type landed him in the Quartermaster Corps. While in the U.S. Army Hamner began to submit stories for publication.
After his discharge in March 1946 he returned to Richmond and briefly worked for local radio station WMBG. In the fall of 1946 Hamner enrolled in the school of broadcasting at the University of Cincinnati and graduated in 1948.
Shortly after graduation Hamner went to New York City and found work as a radio writer for NBC. His first book, Fifty Roads to Town, was published by Random House in 1953 and in 1961 his novel Spencer’s Mountain was published by Dial Press. He began writing scripts for episodes of the Twilight Zone and CBS Playhouse. The film rights to Spencer’s Mountain were purchased by Warner Bros. and Hamner was on his way as a success in Hollywood. In 1970 The Homecoming was published by Random House and became a CBS special starring Patricia Neal and later was the basis of the long-running and hugely popular television series The Waltons. Hamner garnered additional fame as a writer for Falcon Crest, a prime time soap opera, which aired on CBS from 1981 to 1990.
Thanks to Woody Greenberg for sending the pics along!
Portions of the text from Library of Virginia release.