A twentieth-century American writer of novels focusing on small-town life in Texas, he is known for works such as Home from the Hill and The Ordways. His later works include No Resting Place and September Song.
He studied at Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas, but did not graduate from either.
He mentored playwright and author Sherman Yellen.
At the age of thirteen, he moved to Dallas with his mother after his father died in a car accident.
His first novel, Home from the Hill, was made into a film starring Robert Mitchum.