Log In

Ward Swift Just Edit Profile

journalist , novelist

Ward Swift Just, American author. Recipient O. Henry award, 1985, 86. Member of American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Just, Ward Swift was born on September 5, 1935 in Michigan City, Indiana, United States. Son of F. Ward and Elizabeth (Swift) Just.


Student, Lake Forest (Illinois) Academy, 1949-1951;student, Cranbrook (Michigan) School, 1951-1953;student, Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut, 1953-1957.


He is the author of 17 novels and numerous short stories. He started his career as a print journalist for the Waukegan (Illinois) News-Sun. He was also a correspondent for Newsweek and The Washington Post from 1959 to 1969, after which he left journalism to write fiction.

His influences include Henry James and Ernest Hemingway. He has twice been a finalist for the O. Henry Award: in 1985 for his short story About Boston, and again in 1986 for his short story The Costa Brava, 1959. His fiction is often concerned with the influence of national politics on Americans' personal lives.

Much of it is set in Washington D.C. and foreign countries. Another common theme is the alienation felt by Midwesterners in the East. According to Washington Post book critic Jonathan Yardley, Just's finest novels are A Family Trust, An Unfinished Season, Exiles in the Garden, The Congressman Who Loved Flaubert, and American Romantic.

Yardley recently wrote that "American Romantic may well be the best of them all.".


  • His novel An Unfinished Season was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2005. His novel Echo House was a finalist for the National Book Award in 1997. He was Spring 1999 Rome Prize fellow.

    In May 2013, The American Academy of Arts and Letters at its annual induction and award ceremony inducted Ward Just as a new member of the Academy and honored his lifetime achievement in the field of Literature, along with an exhibition of his manuscripts.



Member of American Association for the Advancement of Science.


F. Ward Just

Elizabeth (Swift) Just