Lee Martin

Born: 1955

Ohio connection: Resident


The only child of Roy Martin (a farmer and storyteller) and Beulah Read Martin (teacher), Lee Martin grew up on a farm in Lukin Township, Illinois (Lawrence County).  When Lee was only a year old, his father lost both of his hands in a farming accident but continued farming with prosthetic hands. In 1966, his mother took a teaching position in a suburban Chicago school district.  Martin spent the next six years spending the school year in an apartment in the city of Oak Forest and the summers on a farm (near Sumner) in southern Illinois. Martin attended Sumner High School, Olney Central College, and Eastern Illinois University where teachers encouraged his writing.  He married Debra Goss in 1975.  He then earned an MFA at the University of Arkansas, and completed a doctoral program at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln.  From there he taught in various positions in Memphis, Tennessee; Harrisonburg, Virginia; and Denton, Texas.  Martin has written several books including The Bright Forever, Quakertown, The Least You Need to Know, River of Heaven, From Our House, Turning Bones, and Break the Skin. He currently resides in Columbus and is a professor in the creative writing program at Ohio State University. 

Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction for The Least You Need to Know, 1995; Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection for From Our House, 2000; Notable Works of Fiction, Washington Post for Quakertown, 2001; Finalist for Pulitizer Prize in Fiction for The Bright Forever.  Book Sense Pick for The Bright Forever, 2005; $20,000 National Endowment for the Arts grant, 2000; Ohio Arts Council fellowship; Lawrence Foundation Award, Glenna Luschei Prize for Literary Distinction; Nancy Dasher Award.