James Hurst was born January 1st, 1922, near Jacksonville, North Carolina. He attended Booker T. Washington High School in Atlanta, Georgia and studied chemical engineering at North Carolina State College. However, following military service in World War II, he decided to be an opera singer and studied at the Juilliard School of Music in New York and in Italy. In 1951, Hurst abandoned his musical career and became a banker in New York for the next thirty-four years. He wrote plays and short stories in his spare time. "The Scarlet Ibis" was his only literary work that gained widespread recognition, appearing in the July 1960 issue of The Atlantic Monthly and earning the 'Atlantic First' prize that year. James Hurst died in Jacksonville, North Carolina, on October 24, 2013, at the age of 91.
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