Renowned fiction writer William Harrison, who lived in Fayetteville for the last 50 years, died yesterday. He was a week shy of his eightieth birthday.

A novelist, short story writer, and screenwriter, his works include the short story “Roller Ball Murder,” made into the film “Rollerball” in 1975 (he wrote the screenplay) and the novels “Burton and Speke” and “Africana.” In all, he published nine novels and three short-story collections.


In 1966, he founded and became co-director, along with James Whitehead, of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Arkansas. Harrison was a key figure in developing the program into one of the best in the nation.