At the age of four, just before entering school, Truman had learned how to read. By eight years old, he began to write stories and by eleven, he claimed he wrote six to nine hours everyday. Critics even believe it to be true because at age ten he won the prestigious Mobile Press Register short story award.
In 1939, the Capote family moved to Greenwich, Connecticut, and Truman attended Greenwich High School, where he wrote for both the school's literary journal, The Green Witch, and the school newspaper. When they returned to New York City in 1942 he attended the Franklin School, an Upper West Side private school now known as the Dwight School, graduating in 1943. That was the end of his formal education.
At the young age of 17, Truman quit college, claiming university could teach him nothing and only took away his writing time.
He began working for The New Yorker – a small, but beneficial career that taught him the inner workings of the magazine publishing world.
In the early 1940s, Capote began writing and perfecting his short story art. In only three years, he began publishing stories for magazines that published the best short story fiction and nonfiction in the country, namely: The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s Bazaar, Harper’s Magazine, and of course, The New Yorker. And, in 1945, he won an O. Henry award for his short story works.
He soon published his first book Other Voices, Other Rooms under an advance given to him by Random House. The book became an instant bestseller and launched Capote’s career into high gear. He soon published A Tree of Night and Other Stories, which also became an instant success. He then traveled to Europe and wrote a collection of travel essays that were published, along with theatrical pieces and his first nonfiction collection of articles called The Muses are Heard.
One of Truman Capote’s most famous works is Breakfast at Tiffany’s, which is a shorter novella and a compilation of short stories. This book led to another work entitled In Cold Blood where Capote details in novelized form the atrocious murder of a family in Kansas. While this book is labeled nonfiction, many claim that the fictitious elements make the story not entirely true. Capote staunchly disagreed.
Capote became a centerpiece of the famous, and even held his own ball in New York City called the Black and White Ball. Here, Capote was able to invite those he deemed worthy. In his later life, he began using drugs and his literary book-writing career plummeted. He still did many magazine articles and published short stories in prominent journals. He lived in New York, California, and even had places in Europe where he would visit and rest. Beyond his impressive body of work he was also immortalised in the film Capote in 2005 which earned its lead actor Philip Seymour Hoffman an Academy award for best performance by an actor in a leading role.