John Rolfe Gardiner was born in New York City in 1936. He grew up in the Washington D.C. suburbs of Northern Virginia during World War II. Educated at the Friends School in Washington and Amherst College, he graduated with a B.A. degree in English. He served in England in the Army Security Agency, then worked as a reporter and editor at Broadcasting and Television magazines in New York and Washington.
Gardiner’s first novel, Great Dream From Heaven for which he was named a member of the Mark Twain Society, was published in 1974. An early recipient of a National Endowment writer’s grant and a winner of the Lila Wallace award for fiction, he is the author of six novels and three story collections, his stories have appeared in The New Yorker, American Scholar, American Short Fiction, Ontario Review, Oxford American, O Henry Prize Stories, Best American Short Stories, the Pushcart Prize volume and many other periodicals and anthologies.
Much of the writer’s early short fiction treated life in a rural Virginia village and the culture west of Washington D.C.’s Beltway. Novels and later short fiction set in Europe and America have taken historical settings from the American Revolutionary period to a Tennessee coal miners’ uprising of the 1890s, World War I France, a Depression Era orphanage, World War II home-front, the American mall culture of the 1980s, and lately, short fiction set in the world transformed by information technology.
Gardiner lives east of the Shenandoah River and Blue Ridge Mountains in the village of Unison, Virginia, with his wife, ceramic artist Joan Gardiner. His latest fiction, Newport Rising is available in print from Strafford & Unison Publishers (link to shop) or as an ebook on Kindle (link).