Novelist and short story writer Richard Ford won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction for his 1995 novel Independence Day, one of several works that features protagonist Frank Bascombe. Educated at the University of Michigan and the University of California at Irvine, Ford began teaching and writing in the early 1970s. He then published the novels A Piece of My Heart (1976) and The Ultimate Good Luck (1981), both of which drew attention from critics if not from buyers. Ford took a job writing for the magazine Inside Sports, but when it folded in 1982, he went back to writing novels and short stories. His breakout novel was The Sportswriter (1986); the following year he published the story collection, Rock Springs, cementing his reputation as one of America's finest story writers. He has since published several stories and novels,The author of Independence Day and The Sportswriterand edited many collections of American short stories. Ford's other novels include The Lay of the Land (2006) and Let Me Be Frank With You (2014), both with the Frank Bascombe character, and Canada (2012).