John Foster West was born in Wilkes County, North Carolina, on Dec. 10, 1918. He attended Mars Hill College from 1941 until 1943 when he joined the Army Air Corp. When the war ended in 1945, West returned to school at UNC at Chapel Hill, studying English, where he earned a B.A. in 1947 and an M.A. in 1949. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. He taught English and Creative Writing at Elon College, Old Dominion, and Appalachian State University. He retired from ASU in 1991. He is the author of Time Was, Appalachian Dawn, and This Proud Land. He passed away on May 2, 2008, at the age of 89 in Wilkesboro, North Carolina.