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Christopher Tilghman

Christopher Tilghman is the author of two novels, Roads of the Heart and Mason’s Retreat, and two short story collections, The Way People Run and In a Father’s Place. He is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Whiting Writer’s Award, and the Ingram Merrill Foundation Award. He is a professor at the University of Virginia.


Aerial Bombardment

Writers on Writers | Fiction

He thought that God would relent or, failing such a redirection from the engineer of all this savagery, that man himself would repent. But that was the problem: this savagery was part of the design. Maybe it was a calling to higher achievement, maybe [...]

On the Rivershore

Spring 1989 | Fiction

Between the clay banks of the Eastern Shore of Maryland and the brackish waters of the Chesapeake Bay there is a beach a thousand miles long. The sand is fine enough, but it is sharp with oyster shells and rough with stones the color of ox-blood and ginger. There's always a tangled line of seaweed running the length of the last high tide. 

Norfolk, 1969

Spring 1986 | Fiction

He remembers the heat, the first summer in Norfolk, the summer of '69. He remembers the way it felt as it radiated from the steel decks, rising so fast that it pulled the breath out of his lungs. He remembers bringing it home on his uniform like the smell of paint and fuel oil. He remembers the withering lindens on the median strip of Military Boulevard, watching them through the shimmer as they struggled for life and air. He remembers those days at Virginia Beach, when the heat pushed them to the edge of the sea like a ribbon of survivors running from the flames.