Pioneer Pride

Brad Gooch

Gooch full

“My strongest motivation as a writer has been to write the book that I want to read but couldn’t find on the shelf,” says Brad Gooch, author and professor of English.

Most recently, he gained national attention and enthusiastic reviews for his book, Flannery, A Life of Flannery O’Connor, the first major biography written about the Southern writer who died in 1964 at age thirty-nine.

The book received two reviews in the New York Times, one featured on the cover of the Book Review, and others in the Washington Post, the New York Review of Books, The Washington Times, USA Today, Time magazine, and in The Star-Ledger and The Record.

In 2004, Gooch was awarded a prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship Award for his work on the O’Connor biography, becoming the first William Paterson professor to be awarded the fellowship. In addition to the book on O’Connor, he is the author of a volume of poetry, a biography of the poet Frank O’Hara, three novels, and two self-help books, as well as numerous poems, stories and articles in magazines from The Paris Review to The New Yorker.

A graduate of Columbia College, Gooch earned a master’s degree and doctorate from Columbia University in English and comparative literature. He also earned a certificate in French language and civilization from the Sorbonne.

Gooch, who has taught creative writing at William Paterson since 1992, believes that being a writer helps him to teach literature. “It helps in trying to see works as current, and to help students have a creative response and not just a scholarly response to something like Dante’s Inferno,” he says. “That’s where being a writer helps. To try to get the students to remember that someone wrote these works. There are all these personal and creative issues going on as well. And I think writers have a special access to that.”