Reynolds' first novel, The Vigil, was given an “Oppie Award” in 1986; his third novel, Franklin's Crossing was entered into the Pulitzer Prize competition for 1992; it also received the Violet Crown Award for fiction as well as other awards and honors; Monuments also won the Violet Crown Award for 2000. In 2012, Reynolds was awarded the prestigious Spur Award for Short Fiction for his story, “The Deacon’s Horse”; he has previously been a finalist for this award on three occasions, and he has been a finalist for the Best Western Novel Spur Award on two previous occasions. He has also been runner-up for both essay and fiction prizes from The Texas Institute of Letters and PEN Texas, among other literary awards and in 2014 he was accorded an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Pushcart Prize. He has received grants from the Texas Commission for the Arts and was also a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in 1993.
A professional book critic, Reynolds' critical evaluations and feature articles have appeared
in national magazines, including Chronicles, American
Way, and Texas Monthly; his short fiction has been published
in Writers' Forum, South Dakota Review, High Plains Literary
Review, Callaloo, and Cimarron Review, among other publications, and
has been widely anthologized. He has regularly contributed book
reviews and feature columns to several metropolitan newspapers and national magazines;
for more than ten years, he was a regular contributor to Publishers Weekly and
Kirkus Reviews and has written for The New York Times.
Reynolds holds academic degrees from the University of Texas
at Austin (BA), Trinity University (MA), and the University
of Tulsa (PhD) and has nearly forty years of university
teaching experience. He is now a retired Professor of Arts and
Humanities and Creative Writing after twenty years’ service on the faculty of the University of Texas at Dallas where he served as Professor of Humanities and Creative Writing and also served serves as Director of Creative Writing. For six years he served
as the school's Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies. Previously,
he served on the part time or visiting faculties of Texas
the University of South Dakota, West Texas A&M University
Writer's Workshop, Rice University's
Continuing Education writer's
program and also Rice's Professional Publishing Program, and Villanova University where he was Visiting Writer-in-Residence in 1994. Prior to these appointments, he served as a professor of English and Novelist in Residence on the faculty of the University of North Texas; previously, he was a professor of English at Lamar University. He regularly conducts formal workshops and lectures on writing and the business of writing for both community writing groups and university and collegiate programs. He is a member of the Authors’ Guild, Writers’ League of Texas, The Texas Institute of Letters, and Western Writers of America.
Reynolds serves as active consultant for a number of publishing houses and presses, and routinely judges writing competitions for several reviews and journals. Reynolds also offers editorial services for both fiction and nonfiction manuscripts. As a free-lance editor, he has worked with numerous authors who have gone on to publish their work and garner writing awards. Rates are negotiable based on individual projects and services wanted; he can be contacted at Rclayreynolds49@gmail.com.
His published novels include The Vigil, Agatite, Franklin's Crossing, Players, Monuments, The Tentmaker, Ars Poetica, Threading the Needle, Vox Populi, and a collection of short fiction, Sandhill County Lines. His nonfiction books include Stage Left: The Development of the American Social Drama, Taking Stock: A Larry McMurtry Casebook, A Hundred Years of Heroes: A Centennial History of the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show, Twenty Questions: Answers for the Inquiring Writer, and The Plays of Jack London a collection of creative nonfiction, Of Snakes and Sex and Playing in the Rain, and Hero of A Hundred Fights: Collected Stories from the Dime Novel King: Ned Buntline, which appeared in 2011. Reynolds has written screenplays of Players and The Vigil and Monuments, as well as adaptations of some of his short fiction, and several of his novels remain under option to various motion picture companies.
Reynolds lives on an acre of sun-baked ground in Lowry Crossing, Texas, with his wife Judy, a retired Medical Technologist, and their dog, Lucy, and Judy’s cat, Bodie. Their son, Wesley, is a structural engineer in Phoenix, Arizona, married to Amanda, a pediatrician, and their daughter, Charlotte Jean, is the newest grandchild; their daughter, Virginia, holds a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine from Texas A&M, is married to Matthew Charney, also a DVM, both practicing in Little Rock, Arkansas; they are parents of grandsons Axel Muir and Wrex Parker Charney.