Stuart Woods was born in the small town of Manchester,
Georgia. He graduated from the University of Georgia with a
B.A. in sociology and moved to Atlanta, where he enlisted
in the Air National Guard. In the fall of 1960, Woods moved
to New York in search of a career in writing, and remained
there for a decade working in advertising, with the
exception of ten months spent in Mannheim, Germany with the
National Guard during the Berlin Wall crisis of 1961-62.
An attack of wanderlust drew Woods to London, where he
worked in advertising agencies until the idea of writing a
novel called him to a small flat in the stableyard of a
castle in County Galway, Ireland. There, Woods completed
one hundred pages of a novel before he discovered sailing,
after which, “everything went to hell. All I did was
Woods took his sailing to a higher level, competing in the
Observer Singlehanded Transatlantic Race (OSTAR) in 1976,
and the catastrophic Fastnet Race in 1979 in which fifteen
competitors died. In October and November of that year,
Woods sailed his friend’s yacht across the Atlantic,
calling at the ports of Azores, Madeira and the Canary
Islands, before finishing at Antigua in the Caribbean.
The next couple of years were spent in Georgia, where Woods
wrote two non-fiction books: Blue Water, Green
Skipper, an account of his Irish experience and the
subsequent transatlantic race; and a travel guide entitled
A Romantic Guide to the Country Inns of Britain and
Ireland, which Woods says he wrote “on a
whim.” W.W. Norton in New York bought the rights to
Blue Water, Green Skipper, and published
Woods’ first novel, Chiefs, in 1981.
Chiefs won the Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers
of America that year, was nominated for Palindrome, and was
made into a six-hour television drama starring Charlton
Heston for CBS.
Woods currently resides
in Florida, New York City and Maine.