Like many novelists Leon Richard Forrest (January 8, 193 – November 6, 1997), began his writing career as a journalist. He initially began writing as a Public Information Officer for the US Army.
Born and raised in Chicago, Forrest attended Hyde Park high school, Wilson Junior College, Roosevelt University, and University of Chicago. Much of his fiction references the south side of the city with his created Forest County having strong links to Chicago’s Hyde Park.
Forrest taught at Northwestern University for over twenty-four years, and his fiction continues to be read and critiqued by those who appreciate literary fiction and magical realism.
His first novel, There is a Tree More Ancient than Eden, was published in 1973, and included an introduction from Ralph Ellison. Nobel Prize Laureate Toni Morrison served as publisher’s editor for There is a Tree More Ancient than Eden, and his next two novels The Bloodworth Orphans, and Two Wings to Veil My Face. These three novels were known as the Forest County Trilogy. He cited Charlie Parker, Dylan Thomas, William Faulkner, Eugene O’Neill, Ralph Ellison, and his parents’s religions as inspiration.