Philip F. Deaver is an American author and poet. He was born in Chicago and grew up in Tuscola, Illinois, the oldest of two children. He has lived in Florida since 1984, and since 1998 is writer in residence and a professor of English at Rollins College.
Many of his stories, published widely in literary magazines, are set in Douglas County, Illinois.
In 1986, Philip became the 13th winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction, resulting in the publication of his collection SILENT RETREATS, re-released in paperback by the University of Georgia Press in the spring of 2008. He is the author of a collection of poetry, HOW MEN PRAY, Anhinga Press, 2005. He co-edited an anthology of writing from central Florida entitled ORLANDO GROUP AND FRIENDS (Arbiter, 1998) and was the editor of an anthology of creative nonfiction essays on baseball, SCORING FROM SECOND: WRITERS ON BASEBALL.
He graduated in 1968 from St. Joseph’s College, Rensselaer, IN and received his MA from Ball State and his doctorate (Ed.D.) from the University of Virginia. After undergraduate school, he taught English at St. Francis High School in Wheaton, IL. He was then drafted into the United States Army.
After the Army, Philip worked in administration at Murray State University in Kentucky at a time when the writing program there was burgeoning under the leadership of Delbert Wylder. Though Deaver was not on the English Department faculty there, he played a lot of racquetball with them.
Mark Jarman, Christopher Buckley, Ralph Burns, Aaron Fischer and fiction writer Ken Smith. Joe Ashby Porter, Pam Durban, Jorie Graham and Jim Galvin were also there. During those years he helped to organize the Jesse Stuart Writers Workshop and it was through that program that he met Charles Wright, William Matthews, Larry Levis, Jonathan Penner, William Stafford, Bobby Ann Mason, the great Mary Gordon and many others.
It was the late lamented Ken Smith, a great fiction writer and teacher of writing, who brought Phil Deaver into tune with his own generation, the story writers hitting their stride then --- Raymond Carver, Tobias Wolff, Kevin McIlvoy, Richard Russo, Ann Beattie, Richard Ford, Tim O’Brien.
Philip Deaver attended Bread Loaf in 1991, as a Fellow, working with Larry Brown and Francine Prose. He was awarded the first John Gardner Memorial Fellowship to Bread Loaf in the mid-1980′s but was unable to attend. In retrospect, that was probably pretty important.