Henry Alley (born 1945) grew up in Seattle, Washington, and studied at Stanford University from 1963 to 1967, with a major in English literature and a minor in classics. He wrote his honors thesis on characterization in Milton. After graduating, he attended Cornell University from 1967 to 1971, receiving his MFA in fiction writing and his Ph.D. in prose fiction. After a year of working at Tompkins County Hospital, he went on to teach as a professor at the School of the Ozarks, the University of Idaho, and in the Robert D. Clark Honors College of the University of Oregon, where he is currently an Emeritus Professor of Literature.
He has four novels: Through Glass (1979), The Lattice (1986), Umbrella of Glass (1988), and Precincts of Light (2010). He is also author of the scholarly study, The Quest for Anonymity: The Novels of George Eliot, published by University of Delaware Press. His stories have appeared over the past forty years in such journals as Seattle Review, Cimarron Review, Clackamas Literary Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and Harrington Gay Men's Quarterly Fiction. Since 1978, his literary articles have been published in The Journal of Narrative Technique, Studies in the Novel, Twentieth Century Literature, The Kenyon Review Papers on Language and Literature and others.
After coming out in 1985, he slowly brought more and more gay themes into his work, which may be described as literary fiction and which emphasize character and landscape. He is especially interested in people who are just getting on their feet, as well as the way a particular point of view may impinge on the outside world and alter its perceived textures. His recent story, Leonardo and I, which won the 2006 Gertrude Press Fiction Chapbook Competition, bears both of these interests out, showing a young man breaking free of Freudian psychoanalysis in 1962 and affirming his true gay heritage found in the Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci. His new novel, Precincts of Light, dramatizes, in a story of five voices, a brother and sister, both newly out, recovering the lost affections of their children during Oregon's anti-gay Measure Nine crisis. The novel also celebrates Gay/Lesbian Liberation in richly poetic language.