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Conrad Michael Richter (October 13, 1890 – October 30, 1968) was an American novelist whose lyrical work focuses on life on the American frontier. One of his novels won the 1951 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and another the 1961 National Book Award for Fiction.
Born in Pine Grove, Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, Conrad Richter was the son, grandson, nephew, and great-nephew of Lutheran clergymen. He grew up in several central Pennsylvania towns, where he came into contact with descendants of pioneers. Their stories became the basis of much of Richter's later work. He took a job as editor of a local weekly newspaper, the Patton Pennsylvania Courier, when he was 19. In 1911 he moved to Cleveland, Ohio and became the private secretary to a wealthy manufacturing family. He subsequently founded a juvenile magazine before moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 1928 for his wife's health.
In the early 1930s, he had numerous stories published in pulp magazines, such as Triple-X, Short Stories, Complete Stories, Ghost Stories, and Blue Book. Richter is probably best known for The Sea of Grass and The Light in the Forest, both of which were later filmed. The Town, the third installment of his The Awakening Land trilogy, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1951.
His story, "Doctor Hanray's Second Chance", first published in The Saturday Evening Post in 1950 (June 10), contains a theme that is evident in the most autobiographical of Richter's novels, The Waters of Kronos (1960) – that of reconciling with the past. The Waters of Kronos won the U.S. National Book Award in 1961. "Doctor Hanray" was republished in the anthology, The Saturday Evening Post Fantasy Stories (1951) and in several later speculative fiction anthologies published by the Post and others. The Internet Speculative Fiction Database catalogs five of Richter's stories including a very early one, "The Head of His House", from a 1917 anthology, The Grim Thirteen (Dodd, Mead).