William B. McCloskey

Biography

William McCloskey is a published and recognized authority on worldwide commercial fishing, as well as on opera, and on the cultures of Hindu and Buddhist Asia.

His articles and stories on the above-named subjects have appeared in magazines including Smithsonian, Atlantic, New York Times Magazine, Town & Country, Story, Opera News, Oceans, Peabody News, National and International Wildlife, National Fisherman, Pacific Fishing, Fishing News International (London), and Audubon. His notebooks and images on world fishing are preserved in the Archives Center at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington D.C.

McCloskey has written six published books–four fiction and two non-fiction. He has just completed a new novel Warriors as yet unpublished concerning fisheries and fishermen in Alaska and Japan just after the close of World War II. His trilogy of published novels Highliners, Breakers, and Raiders (to which he now has back all rights) concern Alaska fisheries for king crab plus salmon and other sea creatures. The novels are from the viewpoint of Hank Crawford and other fishermen during the explosive two decades 1963-1984 that saw the start and maturity of king crabbing in Alaska. According to one fisherman quoted in the Seattle Times: "Highliners is like a Bible in Alaska. Check any 10 fishing boats up there and five will have a copy of it on board."

Before writing his two non-fiction books Fish Decks and Their Father's Work about fisheries in several countries, McCloskey worked as a crew member on fishing boats in numerous venues throughout the world. He has fished for king crab, salmon, and finfish in several parts of Alaska; for cod out of New England; for shrimp and turbot on the Grand Banks; and for cod and other fish in Newfoundland. Similarly he has guest-worked for periods up to and beyond a month aboard fishing boats in Japan, Chile, Indonesia, Norway, Australia, and elsewhere.

His fishery experiences have also included accompanying sealers out of Canada-Newfoundland and whalers out of Japan while working all associated jobs but the killing.

For more than two decades McCloskey authored an opera column for Peabody News in Baltimore. For several years he was also a regular panelist on the Saturday radio Texaco Opera Quiz from the Metropolitan Opera House in New York.

McCloskey's education includes a major in creative writing at Columbia in New York and before that in theater at Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. A year between colleges was spent as a merchant seaman traveling the world. After college he served in the U.S. Coast Guard as an officer aboard the cutter Sweetbrier based in Alaska. Subsequently he worked as a reporter for the Baltimore Sunpapers, and then as publicity head for Black & Decker. He and his wife spent a later year in India with the US Information Agency, which later formed the background for his first published novel The Mallore Affair.

After a period with Martin-Marietta publicizing the company's space ventures, McCloskey had a twenty-seven year career as congressional liason for the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory. Although he retired from Hopkins to write full time, the university connection allows him still to play regular pickup basketball in the campus gym.

Besides Ann, his wife for over 50 years, McCloskey's family includes Wynn, a lawyer and scuba diver son (with whom he has traveled to Peru, Syria, Cambodia and elsewhere including Australia for dives on Great Barrier Reef), Karin, a physician daughter (recently deceased), and early-teens grandson Will with whom he reads, bikes, swims, and shoots hoops.

Selected Works

Fiction
(New manuscript unpublished)
Warriors
Older "Highliners Trilogy" characters (including Japanese) end of WWII as they enter the Alaskan fisheries.
Fiction
(in print 1979-2006, all rights returned)
Highliners
Alaska commercial fishermen for crab, salmon, halibut. Re Kirkus: "Raw and bracing as icy seawater"
Fiction
(novella stowaways and short stories)
Stowaways, Ice of March Month, Toiletpaper Sopa etc.
Seafarers–merchant seamen, sealers, military–face challenges to their personal and national loyalties.

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