"Peter S. Beagle is (in no particular order) a wonderful writer, a fine human being, and a bandit prince out to steal readers' hearts."
~ Tad Williams1
Born in Manhattan in April 1939 and raised in the Bronx, NY, Peter S. Beagle was a voracious reader and knew from an early age that he wanted to be a writer. He submitted a poem and a story for consideration to the 1955 Scholastic Writing Awards Contest when he was a senior in high school, and the poem won. Unbeknownst to Beagle, the award included a scholarship to the University of Pittsburgh. Four years later, he graduated, having majored in creative writing.
By the time he was 20, Beagle had acquired an agent, written A Fine and Private Place, and spent a year abroad. Shortly afterward, he found himself signed up for a Wallace Stegner writing fellowship at Stanford University in California and in a writing class with the likes of Larry McMurtry and Ken Kesey:
...it was a year in which I learned that these guys were wonderful writers and I can't write like that. I do something else... I had started The Last Unicorn and later came back to it. I was married to my first wife and had an instant family and suddenly had to figure out how to feed people. I began to do magazine work for the The Saturday Evening Post and I learned a trade, how to be a free-lancer. It was a real skill to have and mainly it put food on the table.2
In addition to being a fantasy author whose works have been translated into at least 15 languages, Beagle is also a screenwriter, novelist, and folk singer / songwriter (he sings in German, Yiddish, French, and English.) He has written some beautiful stuff. Whimsical, clever, and humorous come to mind; unfortunately, out of print is also an accurate description. If your local library doesn't turn up copies, try Barnes & Noble or Amazon.com; secondhand copies are available for most of these.
Out of print:
I've recently updated this write-up. It needed it. Some things I've learned in my less-than-a-month on E2: Name your sources * Write all you know about the subject * Node your library * Cast shadows * Hardlink titles of books and movies, even if the links don't currently lead anywhere; they might someday * Learn from the Masters * Vary the text styles * Take time to do the research * Ask for help * Make friends *