John Ashworth taught writing at Columbia University, worked as a journalist for the Office of War Information during World War II and worked as a journalist for the Hindustan Times and the Boston Transcript. In addition, he wrote for Harper s, the Atlantic Monthly and other major national magazines. He was also a playwright. His O. Henry Award winning short story, High Diver, was made into a film by Universal Studios. Overhead The Sun is Ashworth s last novel. During the 1950s, he compiled interviews with the survivors of the Rosewood tragedy. John Ashworth died in 1993 and did not live to see the descendants of the Rosewood massacre win a large monetary settlement from the State of Florida, which acknowledged its failure to protect African-American citizens.
New York Times, October 18, 1993, Section B, Page 10
John Ashworth, an author of short stories who taught writing at Columbia University for nearly two decades, died on Friday at Northern Westchester Hospital Center in Mount Kisco, N.Y. He was 83 years old and lived in Pound Ridge, N.Y.
Complications from cancer were the cause, his son Daniel said.
One of Mr. Ashworth's stories, "High Diver," which described the lengths to which people will go to escape working-class lives, won an O. Henry Award and was one of three tales on which the 1950's film "Queen for a Day" was based.
Mr. Ashworth, a graduate of Harvard University, with degrees in English and comparative literature, had an eclectic writing career. He contributed articles to The Atlantic and Harper's Magazine, serving as a foreign correspondent for The Boston Transcript and The Hindustan Times, and worked for the Office of War Information during World War II as an analyst of Nazi propaganda.
For 17 years, he lectured on his craft at the School of General Studies at Columbia University, his son said.