Les Edgerton is an ex-con, having served two plus years in Pendleton back in the sixties, charged with burglary, strong-armed and armed robbery, charges reduced to burglary for which he was sentenced to 2-5 years. He graduated from the Pendleton Barber College and practiced hairstyling for over 30 years upon his release. He is also a Navy veteran, serving from 1961-65 as a cryptographer during the Cuban Crisis and beginning of Viet Nam.
Following his parole, he began college at Indiana University at South Bend, where, three years after emerging from prison, he was elected Student Body President. He later graduated from I.U. and later, earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Vermont College.
All of his life, Edgerton has been a writer, beginning in grade school. He has eleven books in print, with several more forthcoming. He also teaches creative writing and has taught online for the UCLA Writer’s Program, Vermont College, Painted Rock, Writer’s Digest, the University of Hawaii at Manoa, and was Writer-in-Residence for three years at the University of Toledo and for one year at Trine University. He taught speech at St. Francis University and currently teaches online for the Writer’s Program at Phoenix College. He also coaches writer-clients on their novels.
Edgerton has been a semifamous hairstylist (was an “A” national platform artist for Clairol, won 16 state hairstyling championships in Illinois, Michigan and Indiana, co-hosted a Cox Cable TV show on fashion with Paul Cimino in New Orleans), and when he was the Artistic Director for the Snobs Salon in New Orleans, they were the hairstylists for the 1987 spring release fashion show for Liz Clairborne. He has held various jobs in not-so-ordinary lines of work, including working for an escort service (whose clients were older, wealthy women), as a professional gambler, a “manager” for a call girl, a drug user and dealer, and a singer in a rock band (very minor rock band… very minor singer…).He was also a sports reporter for the South Bend Tribune, drove a T-Bird at speeds over 120 mph down city streets in a police chase, and has been shot at more than once (and shot back) as well as being the victim of an attempted stabbing in which one of his girlfriends stabbed another and tried to nail him as well. He’s also been married five times. All of these things (and others) happened at different times in his life if you thought he was just having a busy week. He’s working on a memoir that will actually hold up to scrutiny and vetting better than James Frey’s and in which things actually happen…
Work of Edgerton’s has been nominated for or won: the Pushcart Prize, O. Henry Award, Edgar Allan Poe Award (short story category), PEN/Faulkner Award, the Texas Institute of Letters Jesse Jones Book Award, and the Violet Crown Book Award. One of his short stories appeared in Houghton-Mifflin’s Best American Mystery Stories, 2001. One of his screenplays was named a semifinalist in the Academy Awards Nicholl’s Foundation competition, and another placed as a finalist in both the Writer’s Guild competition and the Best of Austin Screenwriter’s Competition.
Edgerton says that what inspires him creatively: “Anger. I write because I hate and I hate hard. Lest you misunderstand that, what I hate are those who take themselves too seriously, politicians, bullies, too much government, pretentious individuals, movie stars who play intelligent people on the screen that a screenwriter created and begin to think that transfers to their own real life persona—and the people who take these actors seriously, those who take what they haven’t earned and think nothing of it, People Magazine and those who subscribe to it, and people who own lots of mirrors. People who are “all hat and no cattle,” to use a Texas saying. Lazy people.”