William Gass was born in Fargo, North Dakota on July 30, 1924. During World War II, he served as an Ensign in the Navy. He received an A.B. in philosophy from Kenyon College in 1947 and a PhD in philosophy from Cornell University in 1954. He taught at several universities including The College of Wooster, Purdue University, and Washington University in St. Louis. He has written novels, collections of short stories, a collection of novellas, and collections of criticism. His novels include Omensetter's Luck, Middle C, and The Tunnel, which received the American Book Award. His collections of criticism include A Temple of Texts, which won the 2007 Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism and Habitations of the Word, Finding a Form, and Tests of Time, which all won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.