Rediscover: Stuart Woods

Stuart Woods, the prolific author best known for his Stone Barrington series, died July 22 at age 84. His 1981 fiction debut, Chiefs, was the first of more than 90 novels (an average of five books a year). Born and raised in Georgia, Woods moved to New York in 1960 to pursue a career as a journalist. In 1973, he moved to Galway, Ireland, and began to write his first novel. "I was about a hundred pages into the book when I discovered sailing," Woods wrote on his website. "Everything went to hell. All I did was sail."

In 1976, he competed in the Observer Single-handed Trans-Atlantic Race, after which he returned to Georgia and wrote his first book--Blue Water, Green Skipper--a nonfiction account of his OSTAR experience. When Norton acquired the American rights to the book, it also agreed to publish Chiefs, which CBS eventually turned it into a six-hour TV movie starring Charlton Heston, Danny Glover and Billy Dee Williams. Chiefs also won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America.

Woods continued to sail throughout his career and was a pilot who flew regularly around the country on his many book tours. His memoir, An Extravagant Life, was published in June. Putnam released Black Dog, the 62nd book in the detective-turned-lawyer-investigator Stone Barrington series, on August 2; and Distant Thunder, the 63rd book in the series, will appear on October 11. Woods was also committed to the Authors Guild, becoming a member in 1977, serving on the foundation board from 2004-2021 and the advisory board since 2021. The organization's president, Douglas Preston, said, "Stuart's support of young writers was legendary. He was a huge presence in the book world. We will deeply miss him."

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