"Until his death in 1995, Gary Provost was one of the most beloved writing in- structors in the United States. He taught tens of thousands of writers through his seminars, books, articles and videos."
— Writer's Digest
Gary was born in Boston on November 14, 1944, a seventh son of a seventh son, and the last of nine children. With the older siblings scattered about the state in various foster homes or reform schools, Gary spent his childhood with his mother and two brothers in a two-room flat in the slums of Boston.
He was a small, shy street kid with a big heart, high intellect and exceptional wit. As an adolescent, he loved shooting hoops, watching movies, and analyzing everything. Whenever he fantasized about his future life, he saw himself making a living either as a best-selling author, a Private-Eye, or . . . frankly . . . a criminal.
Thankfully, for the rest of us, he decided to pursue his dream of writing 'The Great American Novel' (even though going to college was out of the question). Throughout his twenties he wrote seven novels and supported his efforts with 35 blue-collar jobs (that later on gave him a massive amount of material to draw from).
At age 29, when he had yet to sell a word of what he had written, he decided that to break into print he'd have to shift his focus from fiction to nonfiction. And he could do that easily enough. He was a writer, after all. He specialized in writing! So he taught himself about writing that works—writing that's publishable—and writing that is not. And the rest of his days are history.
"Being a writer is not my profession. It is my nature." — Gary Provost
'THE WRITER'S WRITER'
Thousands of his articles, columns, humor, and celebrity profiles were published in newspapers and magazines around the country. His popular instructional articles for Writer's Digest magazine—the world's leading trade journal for writers—were treasured by readers who felt as though Gary were speaking to each of them, specifically.
Before his fatal heart attack at the age of 50, Gary had sold 22 (fiction and nonfiction) books to major publishing houses. He'd been dubbed "The Dustin Hoffman of Writing" for his versatility, and he'd sold books in most every genre: How-To texts for writers. True-Crime. YA novels. Satire. Mystery. Celebrity Biography. Business. Sports. Romance. Cooking.
Anything writing-related, Gary could do, and did do. He was an editor, book doctor, consultant to business, ghostwriter. And, out of a field of 12,000 applicants, he was one of only seven finalists in the Chicago Sun-Times' search to replace advice columnist, Ann Landers. And that experience, in turn, led to the publication of his mystery novel, Baffled in Boston.
LEARNING FROM GARY
"Sometimes, only another writer understands what the rest of the world does not."
Learning from Gary has always meant making rapid leaps in writing skills, understanding of dramatic structure, and publishing know-how.
His popularity as a teacher skyrocketed along with his own publishing success. As well as being a sought-after speaker at writing conferences across the nation, he and his wife Gail conducted WRITE IT / SELL IT week-end seminars, and ten-day WRITERS RETREAT WORKSHOP sessions for small groups of aspiring and intermediate writers who wished to learn from Gary.
And for writers unable to attend, he created groundbreaking audio and video courses so they could learn at home.
"If you have published none of your writing or very little, you can be certain of this: Somebody like you, somebody new to the writing game, somebody who is dazzled
by hope and uncertainty and a glut of questions about writing, will get his or her work published in the coming months. It might as well be you." —Gary