Peter Soyer Beagle

Born in Manhattan on April 20, 1939, Peter Soyer Beagle, son of Simon and Rebecca Soyer Beagle, was raised in the Bronx, New York. From an early age he was a voracious reader, and his parents encouraged him in his pursuits of the literary arts. As early as sixth grade, he proclaimed that he was going to be a writer, and during his years at the Bronx High School of Science (Class of ’55), he was a frequent contributor to the school literary magazine. It was in this period that his work caught the attention of the fiction editor at Seventeen Magazine. In his senior year of high school, he entered a poem and a story into the 1955 Scholastic Writing Awards Contest, without realizing that one of the top prizes was a college scholarship. His poem took first place, and he spent the next four years at the University of Pittsburgh.In his sophmore year at U Pitt, one of his short stories, Telephone Call, won first place in a Seventeen Magazine short story contest. In short order, he acquired an agent, cranked out several more pieces (including “A Fine and Private Place” when he was only 19), and graduated with a degree in creative writing, a minor in Spanish, and a passion for writing.He then spent a year overseas, returning home when he found himself enrolled by his very capable agent in a writing workshop at Stanford University, where, besides honing his writing skills, he met Enid, who would later become his first wife.After his time at Stanford had ended, he kicked around the East Coast for a while, before deciding that his heart belonged with Enid in California, and so he and a friend undertook a cross-country motorscooter trip, which would later become the basis of I See By My Outfit. Once he had married Enid and moved in with her and her three children, he supported himself and his family as a freelance writer for years, even after the well-received publication of “The Last Unicorn”.In the 1970’s, Beagle increasingly produced screenplays, (he continues to write for the screen to this day) while also pursuing his avocation as a folk singer, delighting audiences with songs in English, Yiddish, French and German. A live album of his songs has been released, and he once played at The Palms in Davis, CA. According to him, “singing (and dishwashing) are the only other things I’ve done for money.” Between 1973 and 1985 he performed every weekend at the club L’Oustalou in Santa Cruz, California. In 1980, his marriage to Enid ended, and in in the summer of 1985 he moved to Seattle, Washington for several years.At some point, he evidently decided he had had enough rain, and moved back to California. (I know he lived in Santa Cruz at some point, but can’t find the exact time frame.) He now resides in Davis with his wife of ten years, the Indian writer and artist Padma Hejmadi. As he says, “I’m in the phone book.” I checked – he is. Beagle is active in the Davis community, and is a member of the “Friends of Davis” group, which recently protested the opening of a Borders Bookstore, which would put many local Davis bookstores out of business, instead of another business such as a clothing store, which the Davis community desperately needed. The Friends of Davis ended up taking the city to court to block the project – all information I can find now is that the court action is “ongoing”.I am informed that Beagle “is a regular on the university circuit where he gives readings, lectures, and concerts,” and I know that he appears at the occasional fantasy convention. (Check out the appearances page for current information.) He has conducted writing workshops at such institutions as The University of Washington and Clarion West.His works have been translated into at least 15 languages to date, and he continues to write wonderful, magical books, thank heavens.

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