More About the Author
William Kip Stratton - friends call him by his middle name - was born in Guthrie, Oklahoma, a descendant on his mother's side from settlers who participated in the Great Land Run of 1889. The Guthrie in which he grew up was a racially polarized agricultural and oilfield community with more than its share of poverty and strife. He attended the Guthrie Public Schools during a time of great upheaval; he was active in student government and often found himself embroiled in issues reflective of the discord affecting the town and the nation at the time. He also played in rock bands, began writing in earnest, and developed a lifelong interest in films. He began submitting articles to the Guthrie daily newspaper while still a high school student.
He put himself through what's now known as the University of Central Oklahoma while working as a newspaper reporter, taking a degree in English with honors. He later received a Master's degree in English from the same school, submitting a novel for his thesis. While in college, he studied fiction writing under the popular novelist Marilyn Harris (Springer) and had the opportunity to participate in seminars and workshops by the likes of James Dickey, William Stafford, Donald Hall, and N. Scott Momaday.
As a young man, he was active in Democratic Party politics, and while in graduate school, he worked as the Reading Clerk and as a press aide for the Oklahoma State Senate. He also managed a district attorney campaign around this time. (Later, he managed a short-lived gubernatorial campaign.) He worked for the Oklahoma State Election Board for three years - the election board was affiliated with the Senate - before resigning and moving to a farm to write a novel.
That novel was unsuccessful and never published. He returned to journalism and eventually worked on the Tulsa World. He also began writing for magazines on the side. His first published magazine article appeared in Sports Illustrated. He also contributed to the Texas Observer, Outside, Americana, and Southern Magazine during this time. He contributed numerous pieces to Oklahoma Today magazine, several of them long-form, and eventually became one of the magazine's Contributing Editors. (He later published essays in D the Magazine of Dallas, GQ, and Mayborn.)
In the late 1980s, he relocated to Central Texas, where he has resided since. For a number of years, he has worked in high tech as his day job. His first book, Backyard Brawl, appeared in 2002. Chasing the Rodeo followed in 2005, as did a book he edited with his longtime friend Jan Reid, Splendor in the Short Grass. That year he was inducted into the Texas Institute of Letters. In middle age, Stratton became deeply involved in training as a boxer. This brought him into contact with prizefighters, promoters, and managers. One person he befriended was two-time female boxing champion Anissa Zamarron. In 2009, he published his book about her rise from a troubled adolescence to prominence in women's boxing, Boxing Shadows. In 2011, his book of poetry, Dreaming Sam Peckinpah, was published to acclaim. That same year, he was a speaker at the prestigious Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference. Floyd Patterson: The Fighting Life of Boxing's Invisible Champion was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2012. Also in 2012, Stratton was elected President of the Texas Institute of Letters.