Reynolds Price was born in Macon, North Carolina in 1933. Educated in the public schools of his native state, he earned an A.B. summa cum laude from Duke University; and in 1955 he traveled as a Rhodes Scholar to Merton College, Oxford University to study English literature. He returned to Duke where he taught for over fifty years. He was James B. Duke Professor of English, and published more than thirty books. He also pursued a life-long interest in ancient languages and Biblical scholarship. He was invited to the White House during President Clinton's first term, and wrote lyrics for two songs by James Taylor. A paraplegic since treatment for a spinal tumor in 1984, he died on January 20, 2011, from an apparent heart attack.