Richard North Patterson graduated in 1968 from Ohio Wesleyan University and has since been awarded their Distinguished Achievement Citation. He is a 1971 graduate of the Case Western Reserve University’s School of Law, and a recipient of their President’s Award for Distinguished Alumni.
He has served as an assistant attorney general for the state of Ohio; a trial attorney for the Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington, DC and San Francisco; and was the SEC’s liaison to the Watergate special prosecutor. More recently, Patterson was a partner in the San Francisco office of McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen, now Bingham-McCutchen. In 1993, he retired from the practice of law to devote himself to writing. He has served on the boards of his undergraduate and law schools, the National Partnership for Women and Families, the Family Violence Prevention Fund, PEN Center West, and the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and was chairman of Common Cause, the grassroots citizens’ lobby founded by John Gardner.
Patterson studied fiction writing with Jesse Hill Ford at the University of Alabama at Birmingham; his first short story was published in The Atlantic Monthly and his first novel, The Lasko Tangent, won an Edgar Allen Poe Award in 1979. Between 1981 and 1985, he published The Outside Man, Escape the Night, and Private Screening.
His latest novel, Eclipse, deals with human rights, Africa, and the geopolitics of oil, and was published in January 2009. Patterson has appeared on such shows as Today, Good Morning America, The CBS Morning Show, Inside Politics, Washington Journal, Buchanan and Press, Greta Van Susteren, and Hardball. A frequent speaker on political, legal, and social issues, in 2004 Patterson spoke at Washington, D.C., rallies in support of reproductive rights and against gun violence. His papers are collected by Boston University.
Patterson lives in San Francisco and on Martha’s Vineyard with his wife, Dr. Nancy Clair.