Alexander L. Blackburn of Colorado Springs, CO., educator, novelist, literary critic, editor, and artist, passed away Sunday, October 3, 2021 after a short illness. Alex was born in Durham, NC. in 1929 to Elizabeth Cheney and William Blackburn. His father was a teacher of writers at Duke University. His youth was greatly shaped by this environment of imaginative writers, including such future luminaries as William Styron, Mac Hyman, and Reynolds Price. Inspired by his father, Alex carried a passion for writing across his academic training at Andover, Yale, UNC Chapel Hill, and University of Cambridge, England, where he earned his Ph.D. in English in 1963.
After graduating from Yale, Alex volunteered as an enlisted man in the U.S. Army during the Korean War and worked his way to the rank of First Lieutenant. He served proudly, and remained for eight years in the Army Reserve.
After stints teaching creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania and World Classics at the University of Maryland's European Division, he made his home in Colorado Springs in 1973 and pioneered in the teaching of those subjects at the newly formed UCCS. At UCCS he also founded and edited Writers' Forum, a literary journal devoted to discovering and publishing new writers from the West. Alex retired from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in 1994.
As an author and editor, Alex has published and edited more than 30 books and was a recipient of numerous national and international awards and citations including the Frank Waters Award for Excellence in Literature in 2005. His novel, Suddenly a Mortal Splendor, was runner-up for the 1996 Colorado Book Award in Fiction. His The Voice of the Children in the Apple Tree, a Pulitzer nominated novel, received the International Peace Writing Prize. These two works, along with his novel The Door of the Sad People, a coming-of-age story placed against the background of the Colorado coal mining wars long remembered for the Ludlow Massacre of 1914, make up his literary opus, the trilogy Age of Atoms, an epic novel that casts a critical eye on American warfare in the twentieth Century. Blackburn has also won book awards from the University of Colorado, the Academy of American Poets, and the Chancellor's Award for outstanding service to the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Bloomsbury Review quoted: "Alexander Blackburn is one of the most important writers in the American West today."
Alex is survived by his loving wife of 46 years, Dr. Inés Dölz-Blackburn, author and professor of Spanish Language and Literature.