Iowa-born author, winner of a Faulkner Award for the best first novel in 1965 with The Origin of the Brunists, which fuses realism, satire, and fantasy in telling of a mystic cult founded by the survivor of an accident in a coal mine. It was followed by another fanciful novel of multilevel character, The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., J. Henry Waugh, Prop. (1968), about a lonely accountant who fantasizes a rich, warm life in the imaginary baseball league he has invented and avidly follows. The Public Burning (1977) is an even more surrealistic and satirical novel in its depiction of the U.S. at the beginning of the Eisenhower administration as Vice-President Nixon and Uncle Sam go golfing together while Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are condemned to death for espionage. A Political Fable (1980) is a novella about politics, first issued in a journal in 1968, and Spanking the Maid (1982), another novella, satirically treats the use of sadism in fiction. Pricksongs and Descants (1969) contains short fictional pieces juxtaposing famous legends with his own inventive stories, and other slight, short pieces are gathered in In Bed One Night (1983). Coover has also written plays, A Theological Position (1972) and The Water Pourer (1972), and a film, On a Confrontation in Iowa City (1969).