Philip F. O'Connor was born in San Francisco on December 3, 1932. He attended the University of San Francisco, graduating in 1954. He received a M.A. in English from San Francisco State College (1961) and a M.F.A. from the University of Iowa Creative Writing Program (1962). After college, he joined the army, and served in England. When he returned to America, he held a series of jobs, including journalist and high school teacher. From 1963 to 1967, he taught English at Clarkson College of Technology. He later established the Creative Writing Program at Bowling Green University, serving as writer-in-residence and director of the program. He was named Distinguished University Professor in 1989, and retired in 1994. He wrote many short stories throughout his academic career, and his first collection, Old Morals, Small Continents, Darker Times (1971) won the Iowa School of Letters Award for Short Fiction. His novels include Stealing Home (1979, winner of the Nancy Dasher Award for Best Ohio Fiction and nominee for the American Book Writers Awards Best First Novel) and Defending Civilization (1988, winner of the McNaughton Award and nominee of the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award).